It’s been almost two years now since I got the news that I was being laid off from a long time job – and in that time a short book about the experience has come into being, and as it gets closer to being released into the world, I am finding myself torn. On one hand, it feels normal and important to write about job loss and how it has so significantly impacted life – this reality is one to which a great many people can relate. On the other hand it seems a bit strange to be so open and willing to share this part of my story with the myriad strangers who may pick up the finished book at some point in the future. And perhaps even more odd to share in this way with those closest to me – but that is just another reason to do so, I suppose. Things don’t typically heal or evolve when they remain hidden.
So, a few years and lots of ups and downs after such a large shift in my personal story, things still feel harder than I want them to sometimes. (That cough that haunted me for months still pipes up more than I’d like it to.) But every day there are small moments that make me pause and look at a little slice of life in amazement: Watching my spouse and daughter ride bikes down the road in the distance while walking barefoot on the sun-warmed mossy patches of the garden. Witnessing new growth and decay existing side by side as the season starts to shift toward autumn as it tries to hold on to summer. Looking out at the utterly still waters of the lake, my view framed by leafy tree branches, and being surprised yet again that this is my life.
There is plenty of hard, yes. Some days I don’t know how things will possibly work out. But life continues to churn on, despite my uncertainty about what’s coming next, and joy and goodness and grace have solid roots, living side by side with things that seem broken. Perhaps existing in the midst of contrast teaches us not to be afraid of darkness. Not to rely on light alone to illuminate the path. To be always willing to let what comes next be just that: what comes next. And to always look for reason to pause – or have the courage TO pause and pay attention to what might be present when we do.