Sunday, April 23rd
I woke up early this morning after dreaming of my Mom. I was at my childhood home with my Uncle Chuck washing dishes when I saw her outside sobbing. I immediately ran outside and sat on the ground with her and asked why she was crying. She replied that she sees my sadness and her death is the reason for that pain. She said she doesn’t want to be the reason for the pain and that she will fade out of existence in my memory to stop my pain. I began sobbing as well and told her that she cannot disappear and even though I’m sad and a part of me always will be, it’s because I love and miss her so much. Despite the pain, I need her memory to live on in existence to help me through life and so that she will be waiting for me when I arrive on the other side. When I woke up, eyes wet from crying, I was mixed with the relief of seeing her but full of sorrow for the dream ending, saying goodbye once again. My kitten Atticus was nuzzled up under my chin, sleeping peacefully on my chest filling my heart with his sweetness. It’s 7am and I don’t usually roll out of bed this early on a weekend but after that dream and waking up to Atticus, I felt ready to have a productive and fruitful Sunday.
Now I am sitting outside on my porch, in my new home, with my 2 cats staring outside watching the birds, welcoming the new day. I put the bird feeder up 2 weeks ago for the cats amusement but also because I feel peace while watching them as well. When my Grandma died, my Mom associated seeing a ladybug as a sign from her Mom, that she was OK. For me, ladybugs are definitely one sign as my Mom loved them too but also the strikingly beautiful red cardinal, as reminders that she’s always around and with me. This gorgeous, red creature has been appearing at all the perfect times such as when I am thinking of my Mom, struggling with something in life or experiencing joyful moments. For example, on the morning I closed on my very first home- which was incredibly bittersweet for I could not share the moment with my Mom- I was in complete awe over how the events of that day came to be and a cardinal flew past my windshield while I was waiting at a red light on the way to get the keys.
God’s timing is truly spectacular. I was lucky enough to work on the beautiful campus of the College of Charleston, decorated with gigantic live oaks, when I moved here. The job served its purpose but it became clear around November of last year that there was something else out there that was better suited for my skills, interests and energy. That being said, I started applying for jobs to match my interests and current life needs/wants. After a few rounds of interviews in January, I received a job offer in February with MUSC- a hospital located downtown. I was listening to my intuition, paying attention to any red flags and all signs were more or less pointing to this job. The initial offer was a low ball salary and after doing extensive research to determine the usual income for this particular position coupled with my background, I counter offered which seemed to be well received…only to get a very generic e-mail 2 days later pulling the job offer completely off the table. No negotiation. Nothing. It was absolutely shocking. What made this worse was I was already picturing my life with this new job, in a new environment, with a better income and the possibilities it could afford such as paying off student loans quicker. I was stunned even further because I thought I had really been following my internal GPS. How could I have been so wrong? How could I go back to that job that no longer suited me? I fell into a depression following that, losing faith and trust in my intuition. Despite the depression and questioning the point of everything, I did begin taking small actions such as reworking my budget given the loss of the potential pay increase and looking into getting a 2nd job such as Uber or babysitting. I had to behave as though the present is what it is and will be for now. Assuming no new job with higher pay, what can I do now to achieve my goals of being debt free by 30? Through Linkedin, a local investment professional contacted me to network and discuss his services. I nearly turned this down because I was interested in paying off debts; where exactly would there be money for investing? Despite my initial pessimism, I agreed to meet for coffee because as he said, if anything, it could just be to network. We met on campus on a warm, sunny January afternoon and I explained that paying debts and maybe even starting to save to buy a home were my priorities. I figured I had to be debt free to even contemplate a mortgage and buying a house but he connected me with a local mortgage broker to get the ball rolling to learn how the house stuff worked because I had no idea. After the job offer fell apart in February, I set up a call with the mortgage guy to start figuring out how to make owning a home possible. What do I need to do now, to make that a possibility in a year? Pretty unbelievably it turned out that I qualified for a mortgage and could start looking at places. Just the day before while attending a workshop, I discovered that a fellow classmate Lisa was a realtor. Armed with information on mortgages, a pre-approval letter and the help of Lisa, I looked at places that weekend and found THE place that very Sunday. We are talking a 5 day timeline here from finding out that I personally knew a realtor I felt connected and comfortable with, to being approved for a mortgage that made sense with my budget, to putting an offer on a place that would provide the secure foundation I’ve always craved. 2 months to the day of that the job offer being pulled and facing oblivion, I was driving to my home, watching a cardinal fly by at a red light and in shock once again. This time I was in shock over how God placed each person and obstacle in my path in order to guide me to where I am now.
Despite this knowing, I’d be lying if I said it was all roses and sunshine before everything perfectly fell into place better than I could’ve ever planned. And trust me, I am quite the planner. The housing stuff was moving along but I was still going to my current job every day while applying and interviewing for a new job. Two weeks after getting the keys, God hit me again by dropping a job offer in my lap which not only will be a better environment with more personal and professional growth opportunities, it is also ideal timing. 3 months to the day of the loss experienced in February, it will be my last day at the College. Hindsight is 20/20- we hear this, we know this, we accept this. However, it’s completely ok to get upset, angry, numb, depressed, and/or confused when something doesn’t work out that you really felt in your heart would. We are human. Sure, everything might fall into place a few months or a few years later than you expected, that causes you to look back to that pivotal, painful moment and you completely understand why everything had to happen as it did to get you to where you are now (or will be). So feel. Feel it all. I believe the key to it is to feel everything 100% but try to channel, as much and often as you can, that energy into taking small steps to keep on keeping on toward your goals. That will signal to God that yep, you are ready and this is what you want while being open to whatever God has in store for you which I will tell you is absolutely more than you allow yourself to expect or believe you deserve. I would have never imagined I’d be sitting here on my porch, in this magical place I can call my own, having a secure base to launch into life from. Always keep your goals in sight and no matter the doubts, the anger, the sorrow- regroup, breathe deeply and take even the smallest action to keep moving forward. You might doubt everything and lose almost all hope as I did. But, there is always hope. It might be very faint, nearly snuffed out but it is ALWAYS there somewhere. Draw on that
itsy bitsy teenie weenie flame of hope and ignite it through your actions and daily self-care. Make it so bright that God is blinded by it and responds in-kind. You co-create your life with God with His power fueling your desires and dreams. Nothing is too big or too crazy. Look around, not as a way to compare where you are v.s. others, but instead to observe all of the crazy awesome things people are doing or did. Anytime “impossible” pops into your head or out of your mouth (or someone speaks that word at you) just say to yourself stop, delete, cancel, nope, not today. Whatever you need to do to train your mind to let go of that limiting and false word. Keep doing the best you can with what you got, while fanning that tiny flame of hope and without a doubt, things will work out like a beautifully orchestrated, surprising, complex, and fulfilling symphony. We are created in the image of God, his creations, so you better believe He wants us to have incredible, expanding experiences, without limits. Don’t limit God, who is full of endless possibilities and He will not limit your expression of life, if it is for the purpose of glorifying Him. If God had His own catch phrase, it would be “I got you.”
And as I finish writing this, on this vibrant Sunday morning, wouldn’t you know, the red cardinal has stopped by to say Hello.