This time last year I had a lot of questions and no answers. I was in a grey place in a romantic relationship….that place where you’re technically broken up, but you’re still going back and forth about whether you did the right thing or if you can do something to make it work. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to finish my PhD. I was tired and directionless. I was feeling envious toward people who were gaining clarity in ways I was not–even though I was doing all the “right” things to get the direction I needed. My National Science Foundation grant funding for my research had ended, but thankfully I got a research job doing something interesting. I was trying to listen to the universe, but I was also very afraid of taking a wrong step.
Fast forward to 2014. I spent my birthday in Johannesburg, South Africa which was amazingly awesome…one of the best birthdays ever (we will have to do a post about the trip at some point). The next day, January 3rd, my sister told me via Facebook that my grandmother, one of the people who raised me, died. We had three days left in our trip, so I locked away the grief until I got home. But even when I returned, I felt not only my grief, but my (perceived and real) isolation from family. In March, our church did a Lenten fast called, “Surprise Me, God!” And oh was I surprised. In six weeks’ time, my car was broken into, my laptop was stolen, I needed $1000 worth of repairs to my car, and I ended up in the Emergency Room.
March 30th was a Sunday. That morning, I decided I was going to go to church, even if I didn’t feel like it. On the way to church, a good friend texted me and asked if there was anything she could pray for. I responded, “pray that I can be still and know.” Got to church and the text for that day’s sermon was Psalm 46:1-11, which includes the verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” That, for me, was confirmation that though I had had a tumultuous twelve months, and 2014 was off to a rocky start, I was going to be ok. I just had to chill.
The next day I decided three things: 1) I didn’t really want a postdoctoral position I had applied for, even though it was a good fit on paper, 2) I was willing and ready to leave D.C. and 3) I was ready for (and needed) change. Around 4pm that same day, I got a call from the Dean at Rhodes College inviting me to participate in a Skype interview for a job that I thought I wasn’t competitive for, since I hadn’t heard anything in months. To make a long story short, I did the Skype interview, was invited to an on campus interview, and was offered the job in a span of about 2.5 weeks.
I accepted the job and it’s official: I’m moving to Memphis, y’all!
This post is not intended to be a “life was awful but now it’s good” kind of post. Actually, it’s a “life is always happening…good or bad and you have to roll with it” post. Sometimes crazy shit happens in succession and you cannot believe what is happening in your life. Sometimes good stuff is happening and you feel like, “man, I’m finally living.” But that’s not true. What I have learned over the past year is that you’re always living. Life is always happening. It doesn’t start or stop because something good or bad happens. Life is in all the details. In some ways, I am very excited about this move to Memphis. In other ways, I am pensive. Yet, even though it’s a major change, this year has taught me many things, one of them being that no matter how big or small the change is, I’ll be ok….because life is always changing. Always. I might cry, cuss, scream, smile, laugh, etc. at all the things that are happening, but that’s what we’re supposed to do, isn’t it? It reminds us that we’re present in everything. I look back to a year ago, and I can hardly believe where I am now. But as Miss Celie said as she left one life to start another, “Dear God, I’m here!”
Stay tuned, y’all. I have many stories to tell about trying to figure out this move on a budget….and I KNOW y’all wanna hear about my new place! 🙂
P.S.-If you know any cool people in Memphis, introduce me!