In 2007, I found myself facing a brick wall. I knew it had been there for quite a while. I also knew instinctively that I wanted to be on the other side; wanted whatever was there.
For a long while, I thought it was education. A recent marriage put paid to the idea that it was a relationship. I had one but the wall remained.
And I had the sneaking suspicion that I had built this wall.
I had been ill. I had been given the news that I would continue to be ill and worsen until I could no longer work my current job as a convenience store manager…. or, eventually, any job at all. I was full of “what if” and “what will I do.” As I pondered these questions, the wall came a bit more sharply into focus. I understood that its presence had something to do with career choices and my professional future. I slowly began to understand that there was more to it as well. It had to do with unfulfilled promises.
It took a week or two for me to realize the truth of W. H. Murray’s words, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy…always ineffectiveness…the moment one definitively commits oneself; then Providence moves, too…” I had been thinking about my life, about the promises I had made to myself when first married at 19, again as a single mother of 22, as a woman of 30. I was now 40 and feeling the breeze of time as it rushed past; my promises to myself yet unfulfilled.
I still feel I should have heard a chime or fanfare the day I first picked up Creating A Life Worth Living by Carol Lloyd. I am still convinced that Divine Providence guided my mouse to add this particular book to my Amazon shopping cart. I sat down to read. Before the end of the second chapter, I was awash in old dreams and desires I thought I had left behind.
The now solid and less vague wall before me slowly began to develop a door as I took the time to really think through the exercises in the book. A mere six weeks later, I faced a wall with neatly labeled bricks and a door with a firm lock showing plainly against its solid panels. Did I dare to open that door? Had I the courage? Did I dare walk away? I wasn’t sure I had the key, but resolved hardened within my soul that I would find it.
There was no epiphany moment that sprung the lock and threw open the door. I merely realized with surprise that I had passed through sometime during the preceding months. By this time, the first glimmerings of my future career had begun to fill a previously dark room of my mind. It would be several months still before they solidified into any ideas. And still Carol Lloyd’s question ran amok in my subconscious, helping to define and shape my thoughts and desires. What was my passion? What was the one thing about which I could speak for an hour or more to an audience of strangers? What was the one message (Great Commission aside) that I must convey before my time on earth was up? What did I feel so strongly about that I, shy and introverted, would argue for it in a public venue? The answer felt both familiar and strangely new.
At the time of my 41st birthday I had two complimentary dreams begging for time and attention. At the beginning of April, I had five minutes’ worth of notes on a business plan. That page and a half carried and guided me through April and most of May. Excitement grew, along with dread. I did not stop to examine my dreams with the overly practical side of my brain until mid-June.
Here I was, 41 years old. I lived in a house falling down in disrepair. I had a job I liked but it put too much stress on my body and the hours were long. I was married to a man whose state of unemployment drove me continually to the edge of a place I had no desire to be.
In mid-July, I was short of time, short of knowledge and expertise in some necessary areas. I was flat broke, floating bills from one paycheck to another, staying just ahead of shut offs and closures. My health is poor and my body plagued with daily pain. In the midst of these and the growing sense of being overwhelmed, I feel at peace in ways I must attribute to God. I feel an assurance and a deep longing I cannot shake. I have so little money for inventory or even my modest expenses. Mostly, I have me and my burning desire.
In August 2008, I opened my first business on a $1200 investment from my mother-in-law, the professional advice and guidance of a marketing master, and the volunteered time of my son, daughter-in-law, and mom. I sell something I am passionate about and I will give away all my knowledge and opinions about why they are so important. Most of all, I will be helping people.
I was working too hard and putting in too many hours with 60+ a week at my day job and another 50-60 hours a week on my business. I didn’t get enough sleep. I was riding the edge in terms of health. I felt utterly overwhelmed. And yet I had peace and a sense that my feet were finally planted on the proper path.
Time alone will tell if my ship held together and my body survived the rough transition from atmosphere to space. I pray. And yet I believe I will (succeed or not) survive and thrive, because this new life and new occupation are built around (and true to) my passion and purpose for being on this earth. That alone is worth all the angst and fear and agony. That alone is worth the embarrassment of starting with a miniscule inventory. It is worth it. I know it, and I tell myself every day. This is worth it. Keep going. Keep getting it done. All will be well.