Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Perfect Storm

Growing up in Indiana, you know when a storm is approaching. My dad used to say you can tell because all the leaves turn upside down before the rain, and by the rich smell the earth has before the storm. When I was little I  was terrified of storms, there were countless crying episodes at the Pasko compound secondary to my fear of storms. I remember my dad would stand on our back porch and watch the rain pouring down as the dark clouds rolling in, as he proceeded to watch and listen to the lightning and thunder. While it has taken me years, I finally am able to appreciate a storm, the unpredictable perfect combination of cold air meeting hot air and the electrostatic chemistry that follows. Much like a perfect storm,  I believe that real life is much the same:  a little bit of chance, and a lot of being in the right place at the right time.

When it rains, it pours as the old saying goes and so it was for one my friends. My friend was moving to a new place, starting a new job, with a guy we all were a bit skeptical about. I blame myself and others a bit, because we were the silent witnesses to what was about to happen. The two were engaged for almost a year when I get a call a month before their wedding " Jen, the wedding is off.  He told me he didn't love me."  There is a certain sort of pain that comes with that statement, an awkward card to wedding guests stating the wedding has been cancelled, and the throwing away of thousands of little napkins with your name and his printed on it.  In my heart I hated this man for what he did to her, but in a way I was so grateful because I knew something better was in store for her. Yet perhaps things do happen for a reason, worlds collide and bam, my beautiful friend met her perfect companion.  I am overjoyed to report that my friend will be getting married in the fall, to a man that couldn't be a better match.  

If my friends today would have met me in college, I don't think they would recognize me. I was the ultimate planner, the queen of routine, the "to-do list" master, and the rule follower. Yet the spring of my last year in college I remember my life changed for ever. All my perfect plans were shattered. I had been rejected from every medical school I applied, my father had been diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, and I was left picking up the pieces of the life I once knew.  It is a rarity in life to have the ability to re-invent yourself, but this is what I did. From some of the darkest times of my life, I have truly learned to live. I am happy to report I haven't written a single to-do list since that year. I have learned that spontaneity is the spice of life. That time is perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can be given. This was one of the most influential years of my life,  a year of rebuilding, a year of growth. It has given me the tenacity and strength to know I can weather almost any storm.

I received a call from one of my good friends last week and though we hadn't talked in probably over a month, you know she is a good friend because we seemlessly picked up where we had left off. We began chatting briefly about the weeks that have progressed and then without hesitation or presentation she says. I'm moving to Uganda in October. While I am driving in my car (a ticket waiting to happen) a chill came over me, and tears began welling up in my eyes- happy tears. Perhaps it is because I knew her long journey to this point, the unhappiness in her job, the courage I knew it took to get to this point, and the will to act. I couldn't be more happy for her,  I think it is the perfect timing for something truly beautiful in her life

I often wonder am I doing what I am supposed to be doing? Am I where I am supposed to be? After asking these questions,  I don't feel the turbulence and unsettled feelings of my early 20s, but a sense of peace.  I have come so far, evaluated and re-evaluated. I am surrounded by good people, who care about me. I have family and friends that are supportive and loving. I like to get out of bed and go to work in the mornings. I can delight in the beauty that surrounds me. This is half the battle. And while there are many pieces to my puzzle that I can't seem to place, like love and career, I know that at any moment opportunities arise and clarity can set in. You just have to be patient enough to weather the storm.

Have a fabulous week

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