A few nights ago I cried myself to sleep. I can easily empathize with something I hear or see, so crying is not a rarity for me, but I felt overwhelmed with anxiety. For months I’ve been unhappy at work plagued by headaches and questions as to where I went wrong. Some jobs have a blue print one could follow. You go to school, get a degree, start small with an entry-level position, go for something bigger after gaining experience, and voila… enjoy your house, car, spouse, 2.5 kids, and dog for the rest of your long and happy life. If only that were the case.
I don’t doubt the value of a college education, but it is terribly overpriced. The payoff varies greatly, oftentimes, short of the student loans that must be repaid for said education. I did what I thought I was supposed to do. I went to a four year university. Although I changed my major three times, I settled on a degree in Finance. I landed a paid internship which was the perfect sized shoe to get my foot in the door for my current position as a stockbroker. I felt accomplished at first, but now my emotions are akin to eating a meal that made me full but left me unsatisfied. I have a taste for something totally different, but I don’t know what exactly. I have everything that I need and am blessed beyond measure. I thank God for a loving family, a healthy body, food, shelter, and employment. My issue is not of lack but of fulfillment.
I took a long weekend to visit some family members and thought it would be just the break I needed. Instead, upon returning I procrastinated against another impending Monday by surfing the web an hour well after I had intended to go to bed. I didn’t want to go to sleep even though I was tired because I knew as soon as I closed my eyes I’d be waking to another miserable work week. To add insult to injury I have no idea what I want to do. I can learn to do just about anything; play the piano, saxophone, volleyball, and even salsa, but I don’t have a passion. I can’t think of anything that I must do or couldn’t live without.
I’ve been praying for God to reveal to me where He wants me to be and what I should be doing now to get there. I’m reminded of David. He was a shepherd before he was a king. In his days of herding livestock I wonder if he longed for more out of life. In time his ability to protect helpless animals from predators like lions and bears would give him the fearlessness and confidence required to defeat Goliath. I wonder too if what I consider to be mundane tasks are actually preparing me for something much greater.
An even more important revelation came to me that night. Forgiveness. My son’s father committed suicide last year. The first emotion I felt after hearing of his passing was sadness. I was heartbroken that my son would be a statistic growing up without his father. He was the funniest person I knew and could make anyone smile even on their worst day. It’s awful that our son will never know for himself how great his father was. Then the second emotion I felt was anger. I was angry with him for taking the “easy way out” (although I’m sure it wasn’t an easy decision to make). I was angry that he left me to take on parenting alone. He also had two other children. I didn’t understand how he could leave them behind. I know we all have ups and downs, but I have never considered suicide a reasonable option.
It was in my moment of pity and questioning that I was finally able to sympathize with my son’s father. I have no idea what he was going through that would lead him to end his life, but I can imagine he just felt fed up. I am tired of being tired with work, and I’m sure he had things going on in his life that he was also tired of struggling with. I wish he would have talked to someone about his issues to find a better resolution, but I forgive him.
I know that this valley I’m going through is only temporary. I’m going to listen to my faith, not my feelings. This too shall pass.