This morning as I gazed at the new gaping hole in my bedroom ceiling that brings me closer to my new upstairs neighbor in ways I never expected nor desired, I started to think about openings and connections and their roles in both our daily living and the overall course of our lives. This is a topic close to home, not only because of the unwanted addition to my bedroom décor, but because as many of you know, I’ve been seeking employment for the past several weeks, and when looking for a good job that not only pays the bills but also leaves your dignity intact and your spirit free, it’s all about openings and connections.
|Patience and Panic|
For a long time I’ve had a heightened sense of the phenomenon of cause and effect in my life, the little choices and circumstances, both of my own making and those beyond my control or knowledge, that have brought me to certain pivotal points, what we all think of as being in the right place at the right time. For me this has always been a long tortured and twisted process, with many instances of wrong places and wrong times required to get me where I was meant to end up all along. Of course, I don’t have the benefit of that perspective until I have actually arrived at my destined end, and every step along the way is, at the time of the stepping, an agony of raised and fallen hopes, a rollercoaster ride in which willed patience alternates with helpless panic.
Today my third attractive job prospect since the Great Seeking began has vanished into thin air. I am encouraged by the fact that jobs do seem to be opening up, usually appearing just after the last one slips from my fingers and the cycle of despair and hope begins anew, and that I have even made it as far as an interview resulting in placement on the top candidate list, but offers I have had none. And for every job I don’t get, I am keenly aware that there is someone else out there who did get the job, whose life has just changed, whose rollercoaster ride is over, and that my loss is directly connected to their gain. And I’m okay with that, because the second I didn’t get the job, I knew it was not mine to get.
|Door With My Name On It|
It isn’t as simple as “one door closes and another opens,” though this is indeed true of the patterns of my progress in any number of important ventures. So many times, it took a rejection or disappointment to galvanize my resolve or force me to invent and pursue an alternative plan which proved successful. I think of all the doors I discovered that opened for me, doors seemingly waiting for me, with my name on them, doors I would never have seen had I not been shut out by those other locked and impassable ones. It may have been easier, but where would I be today if only x had said yes instead of no? And what of the person to whom y said no in order to say yes to me?
Much like my upstairs neighbor who had no idea that her faulty plumbing was causing rain showers in our bedroom, most of us go through life not thinking about how connected we are to our fellow human beings. We are often surprised that our words and deeds affect even our nearest and dearest, much less all the faceless nameless people out there whose lives can be altered because of the decisions and directions we take. Filmmakers have played with this idea for decades – the endlessly postponed meeting between characters who are already connected without knowing it, missed because of one lapse of attention or timing, the multiple versions of one person’s history, set in motion by the smallest change in action or attitude, the speculative visions of how utterly different life would have been had one seemingly unimportant person not been born. One day you are not there to do this, and so, that happens instead, and then a whole series of happenings ensues, spreading like roots from trees separate on the surface but interconnecting underground.
When a job opens up, it usually means that someone who previously occupied that position has moved on. That moving on provokes a whole flurry of activity they may never be aware of. When I have left jobs behind, I have always wondered what that opening meant to the person who eventually filled it, just as I’ve always wondered about the sequence of events that led to the previous tenant vacating the apartments that opened up at just the right time in the right place for me to claim them as my own and what happened, what changed before I arrived or after I left. Or in another example, the separate winding paths of heartache, each of them joined to other paths, that lead two people meant to be together to find each other. It’s comforting in a way to think that we are all so intimately connected and dependent on each other, that if nothing is happening in some area of my life, it is simply because my next crucial sequence of events hasn’t happened yet, or hasn’t quite reached me yet.
|The Search Continues|
So, I’ve had three jobs elude me, and out there three lives will change because these doors were theirs to open not mine. But meantime the pursuit and release of each of these job prospects has made me rethink exactly what I’m looking for, revising my search strategy and goals in a way that will prepare me for that final opportunity with my name on it. I’ll know then that it had to happen just this way, and not just for me. Everything happens for a reason and in its own time. In place of the ugly gaping hole overhead as I sleep, there will soon be a new smooth clean white surface – and no more indoor storms.