It’s been 16 weeks, four days, and 1 hour (give or take a few minutes) since I became gainfully unemployed. I remember thinking as I was driving home after receiving the news, “How will I fill the days? What in the world will I do with the time? Will anyone find me valuable? What am I going to have for dinner?” OK, so it was a three hour drive to my real home in Austin – rather than my “home away from home” in Dallas – so eating a bite on the way seemed a natural thing to do.
For the most part, the days have filled themselves. I’ve been blessed to do some marketing for a company or two, help develop a nonprofit organization, do publicity for a band, write for a new business, and help others with their career paths. There is more work on the horizon – for that I’m thankful. I’ve recaptured the joy of putting pen to paper to see what emerges, have rediscovered the healing power in serving others, and for the first time in years, I’m able to sleep soundly on Sunday nights. There are dreams and goals and lists, all waiting to be realized and checked.
And then, there are Fridays. The day that brings joy to so many of my friends, who raise a glass to it in their Facebook messages and plan for it at the beginning of each week, triggers something in me. Something sad, perhaps. Something a little lonely. TGIF has become a symbol of restlessness, because it reminds me of the community that doesn’t exist anymore. It reminds me of the unfamiliar road I’m now walking – a road with sights and sounds unlike those I’ve experienced before. There are no fluorescent lights, no cubicles, no staff meetings or break rooms or internal politics. My office is anywhere I choose it to be. The computer used to write marketing plans and mission statements is the same computer used to check on friends and watch YouTube videos (though I would rather catch the latest on funnyordie.co.uk). The commute is under a minute now, and the dress code is nonexistent. It’s quiet – so very quiet.
I want to be content in this new world, but the journey is not easy. The same battles of confidence and competence are there, seasoned by the solitude. I hunger for the dream, the “something more,” and for the first time in my life believe that the “more” is just around the bend. But the ebb and flow of “more” and “now” pulls at my heart, and once again the sights and quiet sounds of the unfamiliar road crash in.
I long for the day when, on Fridays, I’ll celebrate my own TGIF in this new world. On this Friday, though, “The Goal Is Faithfulness.” Faithfulness in the small things, faithfulness in the blessings I’ve received, faithfulness to walk the unfamiliar road.