Goodbye 2014 (thank you for the lessons)!

“Baby every dog on the street
Knows that we’re in love with defeat
Are we ready to be swept off our feet
And stop chasing
Every breaking wave”

“I woke up at the moment when the miracle occurred, I get so many things I don’t deserve”

–U2 from Songs of Innocence

“Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want…”

Tom Cornick Jr. from his brain

ME DEC2014So this is me at the end of 2014; badly shaven, hair a mess, face shiny from weather too warm for my blood, and wearing a ridiculous Hawaiian shirt bequeathed to me by my dear, late uncle Tom. Oh, one other thing I almost forgot– a grin that reflects the most peace, contentment and joy I’ve ever experienced.

In my mind I believe that every moment, every day, and every year is “our time” whether our circumstances are just as we choose or not. You’re either getting what you want or (as my uncle said) you’re getting experience; that teaches you how to get what you want. I say “in my mind” because, just like many concepts, we can know something to be true and still not trust it in our hearts.  Witness the lottery– we know our odds of winning are outrageous but our hearts tell us incredible wealth is just waiting for us with our next ticket-purchase!

The lottery is an example of an optimistic heart, but mine struggles with pessimism. In my head I know that my circumstances are lessons and opportunities for me to use like tools– even the awful ones, but I felt, I believed every unplanned setback, every bump and bruise was just proof that my dreams and goals were simply doomed from the start. Oh, and the unknown factor! If I couldn’t see the end of the tunnel if I didn’t know the outcome, or hadn’t conceived the solution yet; well, clearly the worst was yet to come.

Last year taught me to let go of my untrusting heart in miraculous ways.  Of course, it’s a life-long lesson, but 2014 reached me in ways like no other. Learning to be ready to be “swept off my feet” was the “miracle” that occurred and woke me up. The details aren’t essential, but in my case the circumstances that caused my internal, emotional metamorphosis was losing my job of 10 years.

I began 2014 on the edge of an heart-attack from working an high-stress, impossible job that had stopped being a good fit for me two or three years ago.  I knew it. My wife had been telling me to get out of it for at least two years– and she was ready to back up her opinion by tightening our belts as much as necessary, etc.  As long as we were together, healthy and happy she was ready to face the unknown and Jeanine very clearly knew that my job was making us unhealthy. As usual, my wife knew the right course long before me!  But I wasn’t ready to be swept off my feet.

I prayed. I listened to Jeanine and sought advice from other intimates.  By June I was ready to take action and complain to HR and management about the conditions of my position.  One week later (as I feared) they fired me for “insubordination”. The “worst” had happened but this time I trusted. I trusted God. I trusted my wife. I trusted my family and friends. I trusted myself. I was ready to be swept off my feet into the unknown tide by this dramatic life-change.

Instead of wasting my time being anxious and frustrated over this new situation, I got hard at work.  I met with an attorney and over 4 months determined that, while I had a good wrongful-termination case, the effort involved in winning a suit wouldn’t be worth the award– moving on. I caught up on 8 years of home repairs and improvements. I began my campaign of résumé circulation. But best of all, I bonded with my daughter, family and friends like never before.

Being home with my daughter has been the best experience of my life and worth losing any job I can imagine. If you’ve seen the pictures of her in the last 6 months, then you know why. Pixel is indeed a tiny, brilliant, colorful light and I get to be amazed by her all day, every day. Besides watching Pixel, I’ve been able to attend to our family business so effectively that when Jeanine is home we get to spend almost all of our time together enjoying ourselves as a family (not dealing with errands).  My doctor told me my blood pressure dropped 10 points within 30 days of being home.

Of course, 2014 wasn’t all rosy. I lost my 88 y/o Nana merely 17 months after I lost my uncle (her son).  We three were very close and losing them so near together will be a sore grief for a long time to come.  Such is life. Being a single-income family has also added as many challenges as blessings (which I won’t bore you with) but I have faith.  I have faith that, one way or another, between God, me, my family and friends I will make every moment, every day, every year my year!

Bring on 2015!!

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