The Breakfast Club

6 cups coffee (2)The seat cushion of my office chair was not yet cold before I started reaching out to former co-workers who had also been let go that day. Social media is truly a godsend in times like these. On Facebook I was quickly connected to five other women from the company who had found themselves in the same boat. Some I knew well, others only slightly. But an amazing byproduct in times of crisis is that of people coming together.

A day after the smoke cleared, I got up, showered, dressed and put on make-up to meet the others for breakfast. Believe me it was best for everyone close to me that I had somewhere to be just then. Twenty-four hours of feeling sorry for myself, was definitely long enough. It was only a casual meal at a nearby restaurant, but once I went, I felt like a new person. We had some laughs, exchanged contacts and swapped war stories.

There is something about shared suffering that creates an incredible strength and sense of community. We are reminded that we’re not out there alone, floating aimlessly through an overwhelming sea of job postings and resume updates. We are not alone in the daily ponderings of hard questions about what the future holds. And I think it’s safe to say, that we’re certainly not alone in our enjoyment of a quick commute to the couch every morning.

One of the women appropriately named our group “The Breakfast Club,” and this morning, we got together again. I mean, we DO have time after all. We swapped more stories, had some more laughs and reported on our progress. Some of us are searching for new jobs and others are taking time to tend to family needs or personal business ventures, but no matter our unique circumstances in the aftermath of something unexpected and scary, two things are certain — I have five, amazingly-cool, new friends, and there is strength in numbers.

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Gratitude

I had a different plan for my post today… I’m working on something in the spirit of the holidays about a little guy you may or may not have heard of called The Elf on the Shelf. And while I cannot wait to share it with you… I have decided that he will have to stay on the shelf for another day.

Today I just want to express how truly thankful I am to have so many amazing friends and acquaintances from literally all over the globe. There are my childhood friends and school mates who remember Lee and I from that very first day in the 5th grade… and then there are my college buddies who remember how much I worried whether or not I’d ever fall in love.

Fellow dude ranchers from Colorado and mi familia from New Mexico who taught me how to  “grow up,” “suck it up” or “get over it” when I inevitably encountered my initial doses of reality and first snags of adulthood. And all of my new friends that I’ve met since returning home to Ohio as an (eh-hem) “grown-up” … and the really new ones that I’ve bumped into here — in the blogoshpere.

I feel so lucky to have the opportunity—thanks to this technology—to have what feels like one big cyber-party during such an amazing time! Thank you for tuning in and for your lovely comments, encouragements and displays of mutual excitement. I can’t possibly tell each and every one of you what your words have meant to me, but with a few key strokes and clicks of the mouse… I might begin to scratch the surface.

Stormy Seas

“Calm seas don’t make good sailors.”

I read that once on a sign that I used to pass everyday on my way to work. I took a second to absorb it and then nodded my head in agreement that it is not the good times or the quiet times or the all-is-right-with-the-world times that make us who we are. It is the tough times that ultimately develop and define us.

That concept doesn’t exactly leave one with a “warm fuzzy” feeling. It kind of stinks to know that in order to be a better person, I am going to have to face difficulties and trials. But it is so true. And my not liking it won’t make it any LESS true.

So after I’m done lying down crying, kicking, screaming, yelling and feeling sorry for myself about how NOT FAIR (insert name of said trial or tribulation here) is… I usually pick myself up, dust myself off, and try to move forward while considering what valuable lesson can be gleaned from the unfortunate circumstance.

But sometimes it isn’t always that easy to just “learn our lesson” and move on. Some things are going to be SO big, so earth-shattering, so knock-you-on-your-ass devastating that it isn’t possible to simply alter our behavior, adjust our attitude or modify our thinking.

I have learned that sometimes we will have to sit in the dark while the storm rages all around us, knocking things down and forever changing the landscape of our lives. Sometimes we will have to cling to whatever vestiges of peace we can find when the sky overhead cracks open and the rain falls and thunder rattles our very foundation. Sometimes there isn’t going to be an easy way out. Sometimes we will just have to WAIT it out.

And that waiting can be the hardest part.

But I guess in those times—in those waiting periods—we can take heart that something IS happening! We are silently changing, growing and being refined. We become acquaintances of Sorrow. We have developed relationships with Patience, Perseverance and Stillness. So when the winds cease, the waters calm and the sun shines down on us again, no matter how long we remain in the center of that storm… we will be forever changed… for the better.

And when we open our eyes, we will find that we are not empty-handed. Rather, our arms have been filled with tools. Tools that will help us build a shelter for our friend when it is their turn to ride out the storm.