My New Year's post was originally about COVID-19. It got pretty intense and Anne-Marie had doubts about it. Maybe I'll publish that one later or by request. The post below was the other post I had already half written in my head.
When I was 21 years old, I interviewed for the perfect job. I was just finishing college and my portfolio looked great. I was a finalist for a position for a new architectural firm that was establishing itself in our area as a leader in residential design and historic restoration. The job was everything I dreamed of when I started college. It was a 10-minute drive from my house. The principals loved me. All I needed was to get that final call.
The call came the next week. I didn't get the job. Of all the other applicants, there was one that had many more years of experience than I had and was willing to take less money than they were worth. I couldn't compete even though I was the eager young talent the firm was originally looking for. Even though the job fit my lifestyle and my dreams perfectly.
What happened instead? I took a job in the gritty, math-crazed world of structural design so I could pay the bills attached to my upcoming marriage. I struggled and fought through layoffs and a near-endless list of my own mistakes that I was sure would get me fired. I sat in lines of afternoon traffic since the office was three times farther away than my dream architectural firm downtown. I learned to stand by my company as the economy faltered and the raises didn't come. For ten years.*
And the dream architectural firm? They thrived. I have a feeling my nemesis from the hiring process didn't last long, but the company itself landed projects in custom home design, education and the medical sector. It stayed down the road from my house the entire decade with the only change coming when it moved a mile closer to our house into a beautifully renovated office space.
I don't make it to that southeast corner of town a whole lot anymore, but when I do drive by that office, I can't help but letting my mind wander just a little bit. What would have happened if they had taken a chance on that hungry young kid that crushed his interview?
Have you ever found yourself on the other side of perfection?
In October, when Anne-Marie began to struggle with her mobility, all we needed was to get a scan to find what was wrong. In early November, when Anne-Marie could no longer walk, all we needed was to have the MRI confirm that the earlier x-ray was correct saying it was an easily-correctable bone issue. In late November, all we needed was for the radiation treatment to do what it was supposed to do. In December, all we needed was for the follow-up chemo treatments to get Anne-Marie back on her feet. We pretty much ran the table in reverse.
We've all been there on some level: when what we've tried hasn't worked. The pieces were missing. The timing was wrong. Someone else was chosen instead or chose somebody else instead.
It's not certain that we will ever see the perfection we want to see. The guarantees of completion aren't written in stone. The hurts of yesterday may not heal by tomorrow. That is the state of the current world. These are things I'll leave for the world to come.
For now, I look more toward grace than perfection. Toward peace than completion. Toward love than a pain-free life. Those are the missing miracles of the present.
I don't make it to that corner of my memory to see the perfect life I envisioned a whole lot anymore, but when I do, I can't help but letting my mind wander just a little bit more. But just a little bit. Then I think of the grace, peace and love I've been shown this whole time and embrace the miracles of today.
“To know what would have happened, child? said Aslan. No. Nobody is ever told that.” ― C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian
*The job at the structural firm grew me in amazing ways and gifted me lifelong friends and professional contacts. From where I stand today, I could never complain about it, though the first year was painful.