Thursday, November 02, 2006

My Paradise

I've always wanted to live here. I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. I lived there my whole life. Every single year, sometimes more than once, the whole family would pile up in the car and take a vacation at the beach. I always loved it. Often, while standing there, staring at the waves, I felt such a powerful energy about it, I really can't explain it. It was a breathtaking experience for me as a child, and made me realize just how small I was inside this great big world. I still feel that way when I go down there.

A little over a year ago, right before the Fourth of July, I made my mind up that if I wanted to live here I should just do it. What had I been waiting for all these years? No one was stopping me, but me. So, I did it. I made a few trips down there to establish a residence, I put most of my furniture in storage, took a deep breath, and moved. Oh, it was rough. If I'd taken more time to plan, it could've been easier. I had some money saved, so that made it a little easier at first. But, it took me three months to find a job.

I'll never forget that day. The day I finally got a job, I had gone to no less than 40 (yes, that's four-zero) different establishments. The town I live in is relatively small, but it's a tourist town. So, I went from one end of the beach to the other that day, stopping at restaurants, gas stations, what we call "head shops" or novelty shops, real estate offices, grocery stores, hotels, animal clinics, wave-runner rental booths, specialty stores, and two different marinas. You name it, I probably visited it that day. Of course, most of these places were what I like to call "junk jobs", not a job I would particularly want, but when the money is running out, you'll take anything you can get. And I had gotten desperate. It's not that I hadn't been looking for a job up until then, in fact, far from it. It's just that this town runs in seasons. If you're looking at the wrong time, you just won't find anything. I was looking for work at the tail-end of the tourist season, when businesses were just about to begin the winter lay-offs (i.e. not hiring). Aside from pounding the pavement, I had also faxed my resume to about 15 different businesses. So, long story short, it was a pretty discouraging day.

Late in the afternoon, I was really having to force myself to keep going when I was stopped in traffic by a lady working for a construction site. After she let the traffic move again, I pulled over and asked her if the company she worked for was hiring. "No, I don't think so," she started, "but you know, if you go right down the road there, I think the next jobsite is looking for someone." I quickly thanked her and got back on the road. I was so uplifted, there was a chance! I hurried down the road, found a place to park, and marched right into the construction trailer. I asked if they were hiring and the man I spoke to asked what I was looking for. Don't you hate that question? I always want to respond to that with, "whatever pays the most", but that's obviously no good. So, I told him, "Well, I was told you have a traffic controller position, but I'm qualified to be an office assistant if you have anything like that available." And you know what? They had just let go their Office Manager a few days beforehand, and he hired me on the spot!

I tell you, that day was a true blessing. Down to the last few tightly budgeted dollars, pounding the pavement for roughly seven hours, at the very last place I came to, I came away with a much better than expected job. I truly believe it was a lesson in patience and humility. I've been with this company for over a year now. And even though I detest the Chucky-poo(p) (WoodChuck, Chuckles) with a white-hot fiery, furious passion sometimes, I'll always be grateful to him for hiring me that day. That blessing truly came at a time when I needed it the most and enabled me to continue to live here, in my own personal paradise. Every day I get up and get to drive along the coast, look out at the ocean, and still feel that stirring of excitement that I felt as a child. You can't buy that kind of priceless happiness.


Amy said...

Oh these stories excite me so!! about 8 years ago, I decided we (my husband, 2 year old and I) needed to move. I can't really explain why except that I felt like I was stuck in a rut of some sort and I wanted out. We moved from small town, Illinois to SE Pennsylvania with a month's notice and no more than $500 to our name. I've lived here ever since. I am now trying to move to Michigan, and it excites me just the same. Something NEW! Something different!!

What a great blessing to find that job. Isn't it funny how God leads us, sometimes?

Katrina said...

How wonderful! I love that you just courageously decided to move to the place of your dreams like that! I could totally feel your frustration and discouragement as you looked for a job--I just watched my sister go through that last year when she picked up from Georgia and moved up here to Idaho to be near me and my kids (and, let's face it, the gorgeous mountains and beautiful lakes!)

What a blessing to be in that exact place at that exact time to find that exact job.

Thanks for sharing this!

Jules said...

Ya'll are so sweet. That's really awesome that you say that.