Last week I had a meltdown. A crashing in. A falling down. I didn’t get a job that I very much wanted and which I thought I had a good chance at getting. A job that I very much need. The interview went well. I’d seen the lovely desk in a corner spot, windows all around and had started decorating it in my mind’s eye. An old friend sits just around the corner and I’d have gotten a daily morning hug from him. A whole narrative of visits to the public library, and office birthday celebrations, and lunches with Chris downtown – as this office is only blocks from his – had grown in my mind in the week since the interview.
But then I got a voicemail. “We’re sorry, but…”
I do not want one more “We’re sorry but” phone call. I’m sick of them. Hurt by them. Ashamed of them.
But then a different call came the other day, from a friend I’ve never met in person. Someone I know from online who has been there for me before, and me for her. Someone whose life echoes mine in some ways but not in terms of work; she has managed to dream BIG and find that it’s all there – every preposterous, over-the-top dream she didn’t even know she had.
“Maybe you’re too content with a small box,” she suggested. (I pictured the little office space I’d have had at the job.) And then she counseled patience. She is not the first sage who has counseled this to me in the last year or so. Good things are coming. You’re on the right track. But you have to be patient.
Can you open your arms wide and stand back and accept – ok, more than accept – KNOW that everything is going to be ok. That the checks lining up on the counter and the rotting roof and the aged boiler … it’s all going to be okay? That true abundance is something much greater than money or even a steady paycheck. And can you believe that something is coming? An answer is coming. And when it arrives, you’d better be ready because it’s going to be BIG. It’s going to weigh a lot. It’s going to be way more than you can even imagine. And for now what you need to do is get into what ever posture you might hold for a long time, a posture of strength – say, Warrior I or Goddess – and stretch out your arms and be patient and have faith. You need to be strong – strong enough to take five or even twenty more “We’re sorry but” phone calls until you can smile and shrug at them and flick them away.
Part of me was wowed by my friend’s message. Really? Me? Something that big? And part of me was disbelieving. Her word were still in my mind later that day when I went to interview a poet for a project. This man, now in his 70s, has seen more than a bit of the world and has known pretty much every great poet of the last several decades. He told a wonderful story about Allen Ginsberg and another about W.S. Merwin. But he told them all with a light touch; there was nothing of the braggart about him. As he covered the history I’d come to hear, he’d occasionally drop non-sequiturs, which I’d write down in my notebook. Each one seemed to be spoken for me. “Writing is a survival skill.” “If I told you it was bad, would you stop writing? If the answer is no, then you’re a writer.” “The writing is valid even when it’s bad.”
And so after meeting the poet and digesting the Cassandra-like words from my friend, I say to myself: Keep walking this path. It’s your path. It is leading somewhere – somewhere you can’t yet see. You have enough now. It will be okay.
Laugh if you will – it does sound as though my life has become a string of fortunes opened after a meal at a Chinese restaurant with fluorescent bulbs and cheap paper napkins. And yet I have no choice but to believe them, these sages who come to me un-beckoned, who see more clearly than I do, who hear beyond the static at the end of the “We’re sorry but” phone calls.