Thanks, Amen.


One day, not long ago, it occurred to me that I didn’t know what to do.  I had enough material things, I had a loving relationship, and every wall in my house, plus the guest house had been at least redecorated, if not three decorated. 

I’d intentionally left my job, where there’s always someone who’s only too happy to give instructions on what to do, only to find that I was seriously adrift.  What is the next step without a strategic plan, or deliverables on deadline?  It felt unfair to expect my husband to support all of us, and save for retirement, and pay for college for two kids on his own.  I have an internal mandate to help people I love- and asking him to stay committed to a job until he is old… well, it’s just not right. 

I know what I love; writing, painting, anything that involves light and color is what moves me. And I know what I’m good at; design, teaching… but how does one make a living while living a loving life?

There’s the question.  I asked everyone I could think of; mentors, buddies, people at the gym.  They did not know, specifically, but offered little nuggets of information when they could.  I learned things like,

“If it don’t feel like work, that’s the thing to do.”

“Don’t be ashamed to ask for money for the talents that you offer people.”

“You’re only as good as you say you are.”

This is all perfectly good advice, and perfectly useless.  Those are the things that have worked for other people, and may not be my path at all.  What I needed was a step by step path from here to there.  I went on, occasionally asking myself, “What’s the next thing?”  I never knew the answer.

Then one day, it happened.  I heard, as clearly as though someone was talking softly in my ear, “Ask God.”  I froze, mid-step, and checked over my shoulder to see if that friendly guy at the parking lot was messing with me.  I was standing alone, but as I continued to walk, every step brought the idea into better focus.

The only thing to do was to ask God to show me what my next step must be, and to take that step.  That seems really basic, but sometimes taking that step of the day can be daunting.  This has been both the easiest, most pleasurable experiment of my life, and the most uncomfortable.  Every time I ask, it seems, there is another lesson at hand.  It is as if my life’s education is stacked up somewhere, waiting for me to call on it, and when I ask, the answer always arrives. 

Once I finally, at long last, get it, I really Get It.  The message of that lesson starts somewhere in my gut, and pervades my consciousness.  I talk about it all day, and write about it, and think about it until I go to sleep at night.  But before I sleep, I often say, “Thanks. Amen.”

About thanks amen

Michelle is an artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin whose professional experience spans working as an educator, nonprofit executive, and consultant. She has a fear of clowns and pecans, and works every day to listen at least twice as much as she talks.
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