54: The Moment My Life Began

54: The Moment My Life Began

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Times, Tough People

The Moment My Life Began

Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.

~Maori Proverb

Monday morning, 8:15 A.M. is when it happened. I lost my job. Not just any job, my first real job. This was my first professional experience outside of graduate school. I worked almost two years before my vice president called me into her office to relay the life-altering news.

It didn’t take long. In fact, I kind of knew it was coming. I just sat there listening to the sad tone of my boss’ voice and the other vice president who accompanied her as they talked about how much they’d miss me, how sad they were, what my severance options were and how they knew whatever I did, I would succeed. The more they spoke, the more I started to drift into a moment of complete surrender to my faith.

Just a week prior to the news, I was in Hawaii enjoying a vacation with my close girlfriends. During our weeklong getaway, we decided to skydive. I had always been a planner—a control freak—and yearned to let go of that characteristic. As I fell from the plane, I let go of all my worries and just lived in the moment. I didn’t worry about deadlines, relationships, the things of this world. Instead, I took in the beauty of the sea, the mountainside and the unexplainable peace that comes from just floating and having no clue what the next moment will hold or feel like.

It was in my boss’ office that morning that I reverted to the feeling I had as I took a step of faith and fell. Fell and let go of all things in my control, and trusted that life isn’t about me and my plans. Instead it’s about following what I believe to be true and trusting the one I believe created me.

That day was the first day of the rest of my life. I often tell my old co-workers that the day I lost my job was the best day of my life. It’s the day I stopped living in a nine-to-five box and started living life as it was meant to be lived: adventurously.

The next couple of weeks were trying. But I couldn’t let circumstances get me down. I was a woman who yearned to enjoy life, and no matter what my income now was, I was determined to make that dream a reality.

Two weeks after I was let go, I found myself surrounded by middle school students on a bus heading to North Carolina. I had always wanted to volunteer with youth, but never had the time due to my job and prior commitments. But since I was no longer constrained, I went on a weeklong trip as a chaperone. I was blessed to get to know some amazing girls as we shared a hotel room, and even more blessed as I watched these kids perform for various non-profits throughout the city.

Next, I went to camp as a leader. Again, I developed relationships that would benefit the middle and high school students. I was in fellowship with them, along with growing internally myself. But even more exciting things were on the horizon.

I had always wanted to go overseas on a mission trip, and in fact there was one I was very interested in. We would set up a sports camp for orphans in a desert town clear across the world. The kicker? The trip was scheduled for the same week as my biggest event at work. I could never have gone.

I applied for a passport and started to prepare for the trip. My new passport showed up in July, just days before I was asked to accompany a group of teenagers to the Dominican Republic on another mission trip. The trip would be free, since I would go as a leader and there was nothing holding me back.

My life only continued to get better. I travelled across the country. I visited London for the first time. I learned about culture, others, and myself. I had made a commitment to myself in the beginning of 2008 to make it a year of no fear, and for the first time in my life I had a free schedule to play with. I had no classes, no meetings, no work.

I had gone to school to be a writer, I was born to be a writer, and for the first time I could take the time to be a writer. My job interviews focused on writing. Continuing my education was also a big dream of mine, and I enrolled in online courses for another graduate degree. I was chasing my dreams at a time when the world was telling me to be depressed and settle for whatever I could get. The loss of my job opened doors I never would have foreseen or even attempted to venture through.

~Michelle McCormick

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