Last year, I completed a manuscript that I’d been working on for a very long time. There was some initial interest, but it ended with a ‘no, thank you’. So, I did what all respectable southern women do…I took to my bed. I’m not sure if you know what that means and perhaps it means different things to different people, but basically I ran away. I felt sorry for myself, licked my wounds and thought that this must not be God’s will. I was lost. My family patted me on the head. My children assumed it was a midlife crisis and encouraged me to work more puzzles….until one day, my daughter called to tell me that Williams Sonoma was hiring people to work seasonal jobs. Let’s just say that I’ve been known to love a kitchen gadget, so I was tempted. But the job was a good thirty to forty minute drive depending on the traffic, it’s pay didn’t really warrant the drive and what did I know about retail? I’ve worked in an equine veterinary clinic for twenty-three years.
The thing that reeled me in was a terrific employee discount. I would work there for eight to twelve weeks, buy all kinds of kitchen goodies and then go back to my life, I thought. Since, kitchen gadgets might just be my addiction, or one of them, I stuck around. It was different and challenging both mentally and physically. You see I am fifty-three years old. And, I have diabetes. I don’t know why but between the age and the disease, and perhaps the AARP cards and funeral home correspondence that kept coming in the mail, I had given up physically. My little seasonal job taught me many things. One of them is that you keep on moving no matter what. If you can’t carry the box up the ladder, you open it and unload half of it, carrying it up in increments, until one day, you hike that box on your shoulder like a boss and sachet up the ladder to the top rung, placing the box where it needs to go like you’re just doing it for fun.
I ended up staying at my seasonal job for nine months. I liked the people I worked with. I liked my new muscles. But, I got tired of avoiding. So, I am at home giving it another go. There are days when I write and I think, ‘yes, this is what I am supposed to be doing with my life…’ and then there are days when I read what I’ve written and think, ‘yuck’.
This morning, I decided that after I took the dogs on their walk ( one mile loop), that I would ride my bike. I hate the thought of losing my new muscles… But, it was so hard. The slight incline felt like a mountain. I had to get off twice and push my bike. As I began to look for meaning in this mornings efforts, I thought about Ignatian Spirituality, where we are taught to look for God in all things so where was he in this situation? Maybe my seasonal job had a lot to teach me. Maybe as I looked around at all the young-uns working around me, I saw that it was only me who was saying that I couldn’t keep up.
So, when I hear the voice of my ‘small self’ (the one that I’ve created) saying things like, ‘who do you think you are trying to write’ or ‘you have no training to be a writer’ or ‘you’re how old?’, I am just going to put my head down and keep pedaling. I think that Ignatius had a name for that–“Contra Agra” or to go against. I’ll pray harder. I’ll write one more paragraph. I’ll post one more blog post. I’ll turn the music up so that I no longer hear the voices in my head. This morning, I’m gonna listen to Bill Withers and we are gonna have a”Lovely Day.”
I am a daughter, sister, aunt, mother and probably most notoriously, ‘the Vet’s wife’.