So. It’s been five months since I did something overdue, terrifying and out of character – I resigned from a position that on paper should have been perfect. There was only one problem: I was miserable. I tried as best as I could to make it work for as long as I could but my body wouldn’t keep my secrets. First to go was the blush in my cheeks and light in my eyes. This I explained away from fatigue. But when I began to lose my hair by the handful each morning in the shower I had no choice but to go to the doctor. It took several months to figure out what was going on and begin to correct it. My GP, a straightshooter, did not mince words: “The good news is that it isn’t cancer like we initially thought. The bad news is that you have a tough choice. You can either feel better or keep your [current] job.” So I walked away. And at first, as I am prone to do, I internalized all kinds of irrational guilt as though *I* had done something wrong. As though I had deserved the poor treatment, the spiritual abuse, the toxic environment, the pathological liar of a boss. I quickly got over that.
And I began to heal in fits and starts.
I knew that if I were to jump into something too quickly without fully processing what I had felt and worse, what I had prevented myself from feeling it would not be good for anyone. So I took my sweet time. Listen up – don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad for taking your time in feeling and healing. It takes as long as it takes. Get therapy, get doughnuts, have lunch with friends. Ask for help and then take it when it is offered.
And as you begin to feel better you inevitably not only want to live in the world, you once again want to change it for the better. Five months later that’s where I am. After resigning I had many fears. The biggest was that I had been so badly hurt that I would never want to help others again at all, never mind doing the same type of work that I was doing before.
Thankfully this is not true for me. I have been laughing, eating, playing, creating and hanging out in my pajamas a lot since August. Sometime in November I began to have a terrifying clarity about what I should do next. At first I ignored it but that wasn’t possible for very long. So I did what I do: I researched. I read and read and then mulled some things over. A few weeks ago I began talking about this sacred little seedling of an idea and now it is becoming real.
I won’t be doing anything huge or radical. I will be doing very similar work to the work I was doing before; being a friend to people experiencing homelessness and talking to others about doing the same with the hope that one day this is something everyone does and such a job would be obsolete.
Jean Vanier said, “We are not called by God to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with great love.”
I feel that familiar pull compelling me to do ordinary things and I can say with no small amount of certainty that after my time off I am a better lover than I have ever been before.