And to be really honest, I never thought I'd do it. From the very moment the idea took shape with certain clarity in my mind, and I knew what I was going to do, I didn't think I'd do it. It was like there were two of me running around . . . one that knew what was good for me, and one that . . . well . . . knew what was good for me. For months, they argued. One of me would say, "Nobody just gives up a cute corner office with decent pay, excellent benefits, and an admirably growing 401K to pursue a dream," and the other one of me would say with calm resolve, "People do these kinds of things all the time . . . and nothing extraordinary that has ever been worth doing has been done without some courage." And then I would look at the sign I'd hung on my office wall that said, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." KJV. . . And I knew I was thinking too small, knew I needed a bigger imagination. I know that it was God and I'm fairly certain it was the correct me that won that argument. . .
And the people. . . I can't -- I won't -- ever forget the people that, without exception, from the first moment I threw out this crazy idea, have supported me with stars in their eyes, even when my decision could have potential negative impact on them. And the people whose inspiration, and even very presence in my life - often in serendipitous ways - led to my decision. There was Jean (again) who gave me a Paulo Coelho journal for my birthday three years ago, and then when her work took her to Traverse City for the day, asked me to drive along. So I spent the morning writing school improvement plan reports in a quaint little coffee shop in downtown Traverse, and then in the afternoon wandered down to a local bookstore. There, on a shelf, just inside the door, Manuscripts Found in Accra by Paulo Coelho was displayed. I had never heard of Paulo Coelho before the journal, never would have picked it up . . . In addition to the front jacket flap referencing a historical event that happened on July 15th, 1099 (this is why I bought it), on page 67, there is passage that exhorts, "If we want to make a fire, we have to focus all the sun's rays in one spot. . . " That passage sparked the flame of now. . . And then there's my friend Rebekah. . . I literally listened to her teach (and teach beautifully) second grade for years. Her classroom was just down the half flight of stairs outside my office, and for years she would pop in on her preps and we would talk about teaching and reading and parenthood and life and everything in between. Then in the fall of the 2014-2015 school year, she never showed up. No warning. Just gone. And I heard through the grapevine that she didn't have another job yet. I was devastated and worried and I texted her from my hot tub (this is what we do) . . . something to the effect of have you lost your mind? But she hadn't. She knew it was time, and she was taking a leap of faith that what she really wanted, what was next in her journey, would find her if she worked hard enough to find it. Not long after, she was on her way to work for the first day of a new job when she received a phone call to interview for an even better one. She got it. She's my inspiration, and on days when my faith begins to falter, I just whisper, Rebekah . . . Rebekah;) . . . Within my last few weeks of work, I received innumerable phone calls and texts and facebook messages that encouraged and congratulated me on my own leap of faith (I got the loveliest text from Rebekah that said graciously said nothing about me losing my mind), and on my very last day, the whole first grade (and some of the second) threw me a going away party in the cafeteria in the morning . . . In the afternoon, my very dear friend, Melissa, gave me a paperweight that had DREAM embossed in gold across it and invited me to receive "memories" from her sixth grade students in the very classroom that used to be mine. And to complete that circle, she walked with me to my car for what would be my very last day in a thirteen year career. When I got home, there were flowers from my husband and a package on the counter from my Colorado daughter. Inside was a hand painted sign that says Let Your Faith Be Bigger Than Your Fear with a note attached and words that I'll hold in my heart forever. The note is tucked into page 67 of Manuscripts. It sits on my desk in my home office that my husband spent months carefully and lovingly remodeling and furnishing for me . . . the office where I sit now, that waited for me. Finally, on that evening, my faithful and dear friend, Jill, arrived with gifts to celebrate my launch, and treated me to dinner and the movie Wild, based on the book that celebrates the brave journey of a woman who soly traversed the Pacific Coast Trail in order to find her way. There were other affirmations along the way . . . too many to enumerate here. . . the focus of this first entry needed to be a thank you letter . . .
And more truth . . . with each milestone, this fall gets less scary. Even a month in, on the fringes of my very last paycheck and with a ridiculously astronomical health care bill looming monthly, I'm at peace with my decision. I go to bed every night and wake up each morning with a passion that sustains me - the fire and focus of something very important I need to accomplish, something I've needed to do for a long time is finally happening. I have the freedom to pursue so many possibilities. And I have the faith of so many people carrying me, and the echoing voices of those who leaped before me, leading me, into this brave new world.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.