I met Joe at work. It was one October day. The year 2007.
"So what do you think of the coming layoffs?" he asked.
I shrugged. "One door closes. Another always opens." Yeah, we've been through hard times before. We survived. This wasn't any different.
"Oh, the faith route," he said. "Cool."
I was a little taken aback. I hadn't considered my words to be faith. But he was right--I trusted that God had his hand. Even in this.
"So what would you do?" I asked. "If you could do anything? If you left this behind?"
Joe said he'd pursue his music, and David, our other lunch companion, said he'd stay right where he was. Well, except that he'd rather have one of the architect's job. And me--I just wanted to be the stay at home mom. Be with my kids. Build their little world and focus on home schooling.
I walked away from that conversation. Wondering. Dreaming. Old dreams. Long forgotten. What if I had to work? What would I want to do? Certainly not what I was currently doing at the time. I had burned out on software testing years before. I wanted something new. I wanted something more. Something that interacted with people. Something more productive. More creative. More personal.
The next month, I started writing. And the following February, Joe produced his first album and is now working on another. And David--poor guy--is stuck at the same job. He didn't get laid off when the rest of us did. Looking back, it seems as though we all got exactly what we wanted.
Although we are all still working at making our dreams successful.
Joe has read just about everything I wrote since I started. As an editor, Joe takes great satisfaction in criticizing. When he's done chewing me up and tearing me apart, I pick myself up, dust myself up, and try to put the pieces back together. Then I try to fix where I went wrong. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have strived for excellence. I would have been happy with a mediocre job. Because I would have thought my mediocre work was good enough.
Thing is--he's always right. He sees my flat characters, my boring prose, my empty plot, and tells me exactly what was wrong. But never how to fix it. That's my job. The hardest part is figuring out how to fix what I thought was perfect. And sometimes I have thought that I wasn't adequate for the job.
But I learned from it and applied it and grew.