I organize my closet based on sleeve length and occasion. Every evening before I go to bed I pick up my kids’ toys and put them in their assigned spaces and then I make sure the sink is clear of dishes. Clutter makes me cranky, but clean, neatly folded towels on the rack make me smile on the inside.
I wasn’t always like this. I used to have to wade through piles of dirty laundry to get to my bed when I was in high school. The inside of my car in college was a veritable trash recepticle. It seems the older I get, and the crazier life gets, the more I like to be in control of my Universe whenever possible. Therefore, me and the label-maker are tight.
I guess they call this a Type A personality. If Type A means that I like my environment to behave in orderly, predictable ways and I dislike being a victim of my circumstances, then yes, I am VERY Type A. I will go to great lengths to maintain the fragile illusion of control that I have over all the things in my life. So much so, that I have developed a three-point strategy to handle difficult situations when they arise. It consists of answering three questioon.
1. What part of the situation is my fault?
2. What can I do to fix it?
3. What is God trying to teach me so that I can make sure it doesn’t happen again?
Those are the questions I couldn’t stop asking when I was about to get fired from my job last year.
From the time I signed the contract on my first, salaried, sales position in 2000, up until I was suddenly being fired from my most recent sales position in March of 2010, my professional career had been nothing, if not, remarkable. I do not say this to be boastful, I say this as a relative truth. In ten years, I worked for three companies wherein I was promoted four times. I rarely dipped below the top 10% of my peers and I was the #1 sales rep in my respective division, twice. In my last year, I was #5 out of 130 reps and was awarded to the Circle of Excellence which consisted of a diamond necklace and an all-expense paid trip to Grand Cayman. Undeniably, I worked hard for all of these things. Logically, you could ascertain that I was also competent at my job. This is why I had a hard time answering the 1st question: What part of me being fired for alleged “incompetency” was my fault? For a long, long time I had no answer to that question. Because in my typical, controlling ways, I refused to be a victim of my circumstances.
After many months of hand-wringing and denial, I came to understand that in this instance, I was a victim. The reality was that someone, for whatever reason, decided I no longer fit into their idea of a team member. Apparently their idea of a “team member” didn’t consist of competent people, but rather gender specific ones. That same person had the power to impose their will and they did, vehemently. I had the power to hire an attorney and I did, vehemently.
Oh how I would love to expand on the details of what happened, but frankly, I’m not entirely sure how much I can say. Get a few cocktails in me and that might change, but for now (and for legality’s sake) I will not go into it. I will say this though… I had a good attorney and a year later, the matter was resolved out of court. End of story… wait…
… now… end of story.
As for the answer to the second question: What could I have done to fix it? Well, MUCH to my Type A dismay, nothing. Short of selling myself to the devil, I tried. In the end, fixing it was far beyond my abilities to control. It simply was, what it was, and therefore, it must have happened for a reason. Hence the last, most important question: What was God trying to teach me through all of this?
Had what happened not happened I would never have willingly quit my job. Despite my giant list of responsibilities and financial obligations I also kinda liked what I did. Sure, there were plenty of things I didn’t like because let’s face it, they call it “work” for a reason, but I reasoned that if I had to work, THAT’S the job I wanted to do for a variety of reasons.
Of course, in some utopian suburbia wherein Lululemon yoga pants grow on trees and Starbucks coffee cost $1, I’d LOVE to be a stay-at-home-Mom. I’d LOVE to watch every moment of my kids’ childhoods while knee deep in diapers and covered in non-washable marker so long as I get to go to Hawaii for a week every year. Sign me up for that shit! Sadly, for most of us (me included) it’s an either/or world and no matter how much I might have wanted “or,” my husband (and our checking account) were firmly in the “either” camp.
And yes, deep down I have always LOVED writing; but there would be plenty of time to fulfill frivolous, secret dreams when I retired, right? All I had to do was squelch the creative fire in my belly for say… 20 more years??
Yes, all things considered… I did like my job… but I did not love it. And that’s what God wanted me to know.
He wanted me to know that liking is not good enough and that what I love is also what I need. He wanted me to know that what I love, is far more important than what I like and that “or” is sometimes the only option. He loved me so much that he wanted me to know that love and loving are usually the answers to everything and “liking” is only for Facebook. I also learned that what I spend my time loving is all that really matters in this life because it’s true what John Lennon says, “Love is all you need.”
Even so, I still wipe down the appliances twice a day believing that I can control my Universe. But now I also know that my Universe is controlling me and if I follow the love, I’ll see those smashed cheerios on the floor not as a symbol of chaos, but a sign that I am where I belong, home.