I don't know that I've found the perfect recipe yet. But I certainly have been able to identify some of the ingredients:
- Support from those who care. I continue to find little notes, little gifties (a flower or two, a package of Girl Scout cookies) left on my desk. Reminders that I matter.
- Self care. I'm carving out time to do more of the things I enjoy (other than buying fabric -- but I've done a bit of that, too!). Cooking more. Staying home more. I have been meeting with a Stephen Minister who helps me process this whole thing.
- Looking at re-employment. I've been working on a resume. I have two letters of reference and a meeting to request a third. I've looked at What's Out There in the way of job possibilities. I've unabashedly picked the brains of coworkers who are more familiar than I with the nonprofit sector.
- Considering options. Do I want to find another full-time job? At my age and technology skill level, is that even an option? Would I really rather find a part-time job? What about working for a temp agency where I can decide when to take time off rather than adhere to a school calendar? Is it possible that I am ready to be a Retired Person?
- Counting my blessings. Of which my dear husband is at the top of the list. I cannot begin to tell you how caring he has been. How open. How thoughtful. And how angry! (I must list that because I have not been angry about this loss. I have been sad, terribly sad, and confused, but not angry. And it seems as though somebody should be angry and he's doing it so well!)
- Additional blessings -- friends who will listen, people who have "been there" and have survived and shared their lemonade. Adult children who express their concern sweetly and without trying to give too much advice. Emails of support. A genuine letter that came in the mail yesterday from a former colleague.
- Fantasy. Thinking about having the time available to go to be with the Virginia people when it works for them. Imagining some nice vacations. Thinking about returning to hospital chaplaincy and/or another volunteer activity. Having unlimited sewing time!
- Looking outside of me. I think this has been the most important ingredient -- I have been so content when I have been doing things for others. I joined a Pay It Forward before I received the lemons, and have absolutely loved making small gifts for people, for no occasion, no reason, just to do it. I got such satisfaction from putting the Malaria Quilt together and am eager for it to come home from the machinist so I can bind it. I made a baby quilt for a colleague who received the same lemon gift a week or so before the baby was born. I made another baby quilt for a neighbor. I'm about to finish up yet another baby quilt -- this one for a Circle Sister whose granddaughter has been in hospital since her birth five months ago.
So, those are the ingredients I've identified thus far. My job will end in June, just in time for the lemonade season. Perhaps the full recipe will be revealed by then.
It's a strange thing that independent schools do. In most places job loss means something like "You're finished. Pack up your things. Hand over your keys. It's been lovely." But in the private school world, due to the timing of contracts, people learn in January that they don't have a job after June, but continue to work at the job for five more months, ducks on crutches receiving pitying looks and attempted hugs from well-meaning coworkers who have been spared. One hopes to be able to do it with grace and dignity.