A few weeks ago, I was chatting with Pat, who has spent the last two summers building planter boxes and planting vegetables and flowers in our formerly city-sparse concrete-covered backyard, transforming it into a peaceful garden where tasty and beautiful things grow.
Pat invited me to pick as much of the lettuce that he’s growing as I’d like.
“We need to pick it,” he said, “because the more we pick it, the more it will grow.”
“Isn’t it amazing how that works?” I said, thinking of how my friend grew to appreciate deer once she realized that the plants in her garden that they nibbled on were the ones that were thriving.
“A lesson in abundance,” he said.
I’ve been thinking about that a lot since I was laid off a few weeks ago. The morning before I was laid off, I found out that my dad has cancer. My biggest concern was getting the time off to come home and see him. When I heard that my position had been eliminated, my main thought was, “Problem solved.” I worried about work, and after sending out a few emails, ended up with three freelance assignments and offers from friends who were already looking out for me. After some plans fell through, my new (fabulous) boyfriend found himself with a free vacation week not long after I found myself with this abundance of time. We took our first trip together. Actually two.
I took the opportunity to host a French woman through CouchSurfing. She used to live in the United States. She was married and had a child, but couldn’t find interesting work and developed a series of health problems. When the doctors here told her she might have MS, she knew she had to make a change. She moved back to France with her son and started her life all over again. With her new job, she is able to travel–fulfilling a lifelong dream. Her health problems have disappeared, and she uses Skype, email, and other technological tools (as well as side trips on her business trips) to make sure her ex-husband stays actively involved in their son’s life.
We talked about how sometimes you have to give up everything in order to get the life you want or need. You have to allow creative destruction to happen, and to do so, you need to believe in an abundant future. I don’t know how I’ll feel in a month or two, but right now, for the first time in a long time, I believe in an abundant future.