I tried. Oh god, I really tried. I went into work yesterday.
I work as a Legal Assistant, and my health has greatly affected my ability to work the past few months. It’s been really very embarrassing to me. I went from working 4 or 5 afternoons a week for the last couple of years, to taking 5 straight weeks off of work, to now – I am only able to work one afternoon a week.
I give 100%. And I will be the first to admit that my 100% can look very different from day to day, depending on how I’m feeling. I know I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I have limitations. Regardless of all of that, I take a lot of pride in what I do. And I will tell you why.
I couldn’t work for 17 years of my life. Most of that time I was either Completely bed bound or house bound. I said goodbye to the possibility of post-secondary schooling and ever having a career. My pain didn’t allow me to think too far from my own 4 walls. And I can tell you, being at home for 17 years, by circumstance and not by choice, wasn’t easy. In fact, it was one of the hardest parts of all of this, for me. I wanted so much more for my life, but could never see how that would ever happen. I had plans of getting my degree in Psychology. I wanted a career in serving and helping others. Especially those who don’t have the tools to necessarily help themselves. But after one semester of post-secondary schooling at Athabasca University, I dropped out, and buried the dreams I had for myself.
Fast forward to 3 or so years ago, quite by chance, I met a gal who, at the very moment we said hello, I KNEW she was someone I was connected with. I can’t say for sure WHY or HOW I felt that way. But it was undeniably kismet. Or serendipity. Or something inexplicably purposeful. Anyways, we became friends, and I often thought that my meeting her wasn’t just a coincidence. She was someone I shared my health struggles with, right away. And her response was the biggest and most loving hug I’ve just about ever had.
I was in a position where I needed to work. My family had run into some tough times, financially. The THOUGHT of trying to look for a job with a 17 year GAP on my resume was TERRIFYING. I had no idea where to start, so I reached out to this friend and asked if she would consider writing me a letter of reference. She was someone I admired greatly, and my hopes was that a letter from her might help me find a job, any job! Fast food, retail, grocery store, maybe a clerical position – I would have taken anything in that moment. I just really needed to be working.
‘ You know my husband is a lawyer, right? I was just thinking about you. We need some help in the office. Would you consider coming in for an interview?’
EXCUSE ME?!? ARE YOU SERIOUS? You are looking for a Legal Assistant?! And you thought of ME? You want ME to come in for an interview?!?
In that moment, my pain spoke, and spoke LOUDLY. It told me that this was way too good to be true. It told me that there’s no way I could handle working in a law office. Pain told me that I was not good enough, or smart enough, and I should really just politely decline. However, my heart told me YES, JOEY DO IT!! Do. It. You will never know until you try!!!
The interview was brief. And I started immediately. In that moment, my friend and her husband took a chance on this sick and complicated girl, and entirely changed my life. It has been 2 years, and I have never looked back.
My ‘boss’ and his wife have become family to me. We lovingly call them Papa and Mama ‘T’ at the office. They very much understand that my health comes first, and without them, there is no way I would be still be working. They have been extremely patient, loving, and incredibly supportive. And I’d be lost without them! I really do know how lucky I am, believe me. I thank the Universe daily. And I try to remind them often of how grateful I am for their patience, understanding, and unconditional love. Although, I don’t know if they will ever truly know just how much they mean to me. It’s hard to find a card at Hallmark that says, ‘Hey thanks for taking a chance on me and putting up with my pain and illness, and for always letting me take care of my health first, while teaching me to become someone I always ALWAYS wanted to be, and allowing me to be a part of helping and serving others so I can feel like I am making a difference in this world, and at the same time, loving me fiercely, standing by me, and adopting me as your own’. Whew! Ya. I looked for that card. It doesn’t exist.
Well, as I said, I went into work yesterday. And quickly, I was in tears. It’s been a really rough few months. My pain has been out of control. I haven’t been able to sleep. But I tried. And it didn’t work. So I went home and spent the rest of the day in bed. I had to force myself to listen to what my body needs. Some days, I just cannot push through, no matter how hard I try. And even though I hate it. That’s the way it is.
But do you know what?
Today is a new day. And I am determined to try again. So I am headed back in to the office. I need a do-over of yesterday to prove to MYSELF that it is possible to keep going. It is okay to falter. But it isn’t okay to quit. So off to work I go! I’ll try my best. And that ‘best’ might look different than it did yesterday, or last week, or last month. But it’s all I have to give.
And I will.