For close to a year, I prayed for guidance and clarity. My kids are a little older now and with that comes more expensive clothes, shoes and hobbies. (Seriously? $850 for an 11 year old to play baseball?) The solution seemed simple enough. Like many women, I naively envisioned that when my children reached school age, I would just go back to work full time. I’ve read articles about the stay-at-home mom who couldn’t find work after 10 years and the professional mom who tried to do it all at her own expense. But those articles didn’t apply to me—I’m a social worker. I’ve always been a social worker, and I have always worked in some capacity. From full-time days while my husband stayed home to part-time evenings when we passed in the driveway, I’ve been on-call, PRN, SAHM, WAHM and everything in between—often with a baby or a toddler screaming in the background. We did whatever we needed to do and my work decisions were guided by the needs of our family. So I honestly never expected the amount of unrest and indecision that would come with this new phase of parenting: pseudo-independence.
But as I began to share my writing through the blog and explore my professional options, I felt strongly that I was meant to go forward in a different direction. Trying to discern this new calling, I often prayed for clarity and understanding as I made decisions along the way. In my journals and my meditation, in church and yoga class, on the phone with my mom or my best friend, “What’s next?” I incessantly worried. And each time I asked that question in quiet contemplation, the answer always seemed to be that I should “Be Patient,” “Be Quiet” or “Be Still.” For the longest time, I took this to mean that if I kept quiet and listened, the answer would eventually come, and I could go confidently toward my new goals, whatever they might be.
But by early last summer, I was starting to get tired of waiting—childcare expenses were right around the corner, decisions needed to be made and there were no answers or solutions in sight. “I’ve been patient!” I thought to myself. “But how am I supposed to pay the babysitter next week? Which job, which opportunity, in which direction am I supposed to put my energy?” These questions were never far from my thoughts as I tried to balance my passion for social work, my love of writing and the needs of our family. So it’s no surprise that in early June, during our yearly trip to The Outer Banks, I found myself staring into the waves asking the same question I had been asking anyone who would listen over the last 12 months.
And again, I heard that quiet but clear echo in my heart: “Be Patient” and “Be Still.” Except that day, somewhere between the crash of the waves and the quiet solitude of the seashore—I heard the answer clearly for the first time. What if “Be Patient” and “Be Still” are not the path to anywhere? What if faithful patience, stillness and quiet contemplation are the whole answer? This was a palm-to-forehead moment for me, and I felt instantly calm (and empowered) in a way that had eluded me for most of my adult life. “Oh. My. God. Of course!” I had the answer all along. I just wasn’t ready to hear it.
If I cultivate these skills, then whatever challenges and opportunities are ahead of me are just the background details. There is no job or bank balance or blog post that will suddenly bring me the inner peace I am seeking. I don’t need to BE patient so that I can wait for a divine adventure to magically unfold. Life is the plan, and it’s unfolding all around me. I just need to quiet my frantic, social worker, mother hen, problem-solving instincts and be patient—so I can fully embrace and experience whatever plans life has in store.
“Be quiet. Be Patient. Be Still.” It’s time to shut up, sit still and get out of my own way. Message received. Amen.
Want to know more about what happens when I am quiet enough to follow whatever the universe sets in front of me? Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @PamelaTuros to learn more about the re-launch of the Good Cause Blog! #GoodCauseCLE