If this pandemic hasn’t taught us all that our jobs and titles aren’t who we are, I don’t know what will. We get so wrapped up in our day-to-day bills, deadlines and agendas that in yesterday’s world we would have forgotten to stop and smell the roses, turn our phones off, be present with our kids or have a technology-free dinner. If there is just ONE thing that we can pull from this horrible event in our world’s history, it can be discovering who we truly are, outside of our title, outside of our name, outside of our looks – leaning into who and what is important.
My Dad used to be a racecar designer. He got offers from Walt Disney Imagineering, movie production companies and many exciting companies offering him new ways to expand his potential. This, however, caused a crossroads in his life when my siblings and I were little. Being a very successful designer, he was getting offers left and right from many different companies, but, on the negative side, accepting one of these offers meant that he would need to travel and commute long distances. At the same time, he was also offered a position with a company that offered to give him the flexibility to start early and leave early so that he can be home in time to do after school activities with us and be home for dinner. Even though, this new job was not in the same exciting arena that he was used to and didn’t pay as much as the other opportunities, the flexibility of being able to build memories with us outweighed the others.
Living in yesterday’s world, I have met people who have chosen careers over dance recitals, chosen meetings over their kids’ graduations and barely or sadly, never make it home for dinner; intentionally choosing the way of nature… survival of the fittest.
Now, before I continue, I know there are people who do NOT have a choice in the matter. I do know that there are people who are just striving and working their butts off just to get dinner on the table. I am NOT talking about those people. I am talking about the people who chose money and notoriety over these missed moments. My Dad, NEVER missed a dance recital, never missed a baseball game, was the parent who volunteered at ALL our school field trips and always, ALWAYS chose US. My Dad has always known that his title isn’t who he is.
During this time of our world’s transition, where our jobs, our titles and what we do for a living has been stripped from us, I hope we can all take a moment to dive internally and truly discover who we are as beings; in our souls and in our hearts. We can’t take money with us in the end, all we can take is the love we received and the love that we gave. Choose love, choose faith, choose grace.
“The nuns taught us there are two ways through life, the way of Nature and the way of Grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow. Grace doesn’t try to please itself. Accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have its own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things. They taught us that no one who ever loves the way of grace ever comes to a bad end. ‘I will be true to you. Whatever comes.”
– Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life