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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Cross Over to the Other Side

Here's another job opening, the email was titled. I opened it to find something I would enjoy, though it likely would have been limiting in career growth. This was the fourth in a line of suggestions that came as I sat in a room that was slowly reducing to four walls, carpet, and furniture as I carefully packed my life away. Was I making the right decision? It had seemed so at the time but then again, I tended to embrace possibility wholeheartedly until I thought of everything that could go wrong and then I stepped back, hesitant, afraid, and changed my mind. This time, though, I couldn't say No. I'd come too far to step back.

It was three months ago that I found the missed call on the answering machine. I never called her back but I played the message twice. There were openings in corporate, I looked like a good fit as executive assistant to the president, would I please call the following number. It was one of my dream jobs--working in a non-profit Christian ministry to rescue and rehabilitate minors trapped in human trafficking. I'd attended their training, volunteered at a couple of events, and was passionate about the mission. I'd already started down a different road, though, and I could not pursue this calling.

Within the week, we were enjoying a potluck lunch at a friend's house before heading out to sing to shut-ins when the hostess turned to me and asked, Are you still looking for a job? Her husband needed a secretary, there was room for advancement, if I was interested. I had been, once. I'd interviewed for the same position 8 years ago, sat around the proverbial table with dark suits and explained why I was the best person for the job. I went home and sent a thank-you-and-hope-to-hear-from-you-soon card. Never heard anything. No email, no letter, no phone call. So I went on with life and though it once again sounded tempting to work in corporate in a ministry-focused organization, I knew this time I would not be interviewing. I had chosen a different path.

Then, as I idly passed time waiting for the visa to come, I found myself browsing the employment pages at my alma mater. I'd interviewed there a year ago, they flew me out, I'd answered the questions the 8-person strong group threw at me from carefully selected questions on a double-sided single page. I'd sat on the wonderful queen bed, agonizing for hours over how to solve a formula, then I'd given up and gone to the deli where I used my complimentary meal card to buy supper. I was one of three but I didn't make the cut. As I scrolled through the positions, I stopped at one that fit my bucket list description. A program registrar at a mainstream university. I didn't apply but within days an email came from the main interviewer from a year ago. They were recommending me to the search committee, here was the link to apply. I sent a thoughtful thank you email in reply. I'd already committed for the coming year to mission service.

And now, the fourth, would allow me to stay where I was slowly starting to feel the ties that held me even as I gently snipped each one loose. The routine of going in to my mother's office each day, ostensibly work-related, as we'd laugh and talk about life with her colleague, each of us having a similar sense of humour. The freedom of driving down the freeway with Mandisa playing loudly on the radio as I prayed out loud and absorbed the realization of God's goodness. The joy of spending time with friends as we indulged in long talks around ethnic meals or made spontaneous trips to Winco and Trader Joe's. The beauty of living in nature and breathing in fresh air untainted by cigarette smoke and smog. The security of knowing I had a home to go to every night and family who loved me. Each time I felt a pang of sadness, I allowed it to linger so I could fully embrace the experience. I was leaving but I was loved.

I'm still waiting for my visa. This holding time of six weeks and counting has brought a wealth of lessons and memories. I've also realized there is never a perfect time to leave. There will always be one more friend to see, one more restaurant to eat at, one more book to read, one more folder to sort. I think God has used my inclination to jump first, think later, to urge me into an adventure I may not have chosen after deliberate thought. I used to be the impulsive one but life had shaped me into the careful predictive one. Until this. Am I making the right decision? To be in God's will is to follow unhesitatingly, trust implicitly, and do cheerfully whatever He asks me to do. So I step into Jordan's river, my toes reaching for the water, and I wait for it to part. I know it will. He has promised.

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