It was the early 90s and I had worked my tail off subbing in a local school district and putting in lots of extra hours teaching special programs. All in the hopes that the decision makers would see what a great hire I would be for the district. For over a year, along with another new teacher who went on to become one of my dearest life-long friends, I worked really hard with the goal of having my own classroom in the district.
Finally, we heard through the grapevine that there were going to be interviews. We were nervous and excited and nervous. She got her call. Other hopeful new teachers got their calls. I waited and waited and waited...and never got 'the' call.
I was devastated. How come everyone else in our group got interviews and I didn’t. I had great recommendations. I was conscientious and hard working. I was always on time (cue my husband laughing as he reads this).
I asked around a bit about why I didn’t get an interview. Nothing. Crickets. About two weeks later, after the round of interviews, I received a *secret* call from someone in the central office with whom I had become friends and she told me that although she could never admit to it, the person setting up interviews had made a mistake and that’s the reason I didn’t get a call. Unfortunately, it was too late to undo the mistake. I’d have to wait until the next round of interviews. I set the phone down and cried. Then I’m pretty sure I yelled.
I thought about how I’d need to continue waitressing and hostessing at night and on the weekends, while I took substitute teacher jobs as they came my way. It wasn’t what I wanted but it’s what I did. I kept showing up with a good attitude and my best teaching.
When that next round of interviews came the following year, I got a call and while I was excited for sure, I was also frustrated because I heard that this Cute Guy from Gaylord was interviewing one of just a handful of position. He had some connection to someone in central office. Of course that’s the part I focused on – that he had a connection. I chose to ignore that he had great references and experience as well, just not in our district. If he got hired before or instead of me and my friend, well, I was ready to kiss that district good bye. It would be their loss!
I put my best foot – and portfolio and references and knowledge and experience – forward when the opportunity came for me to interview. I felt really, really good about it. I was pretty sure I’d get an offer. I don’t remember how long I waited, but I do remember hearing that the Cute Guy from Gaylord got hired first. Before me and before my friend. And, even though I got hired that year and so did my friend, I was kind of annoyed.
That is until I actually saw this guy everyone was talking about. Well, saw him and then talked to him. We were in the same new teachers science meeting, which wasn’t all that interesting, except that this guy was in there and he had these amazing eyes and we met.
Because we got hired the same year, we were in a lot of meetings together. We often sat by each other. He made me laugh. A lot. We eventually went out on a date. We saw Milk Money. Not the greatest movie for sure, but it was a great date.
You might guess where I’m going with this.
Yes, that Cute Guy from Gaylord, that I ended up in meetings with only because I did not get hired the previous year, is the same Cute Guy I ended up marrying and having three kids with. The love of my life. And while like every married couple, we’ve had our share of high highs and low lows, I wouldn’t want to experience either the highs or the lows with anyone else.
It’s not our anniversary or Father’s Day or his birthday so why am I sharing this?
Because it’s one of what I call my anchor stories. A story that taught me a key life lesson and keeps me anchored to the Truth, in this case it was that I don’t always know what’s best for me. That I have to surrender and trust. Had I gotten an interview the year earlier, and gotten hired, I wouldn’t have been in all those meetings with Mike. We wouldn’t have seen much of each other at all since we taught in different buildings. It’s not likely that I would have gotten to know him, much less date him.
Whenever I’m in a situation that doesn’t make sense to me and I think life is happening TO me instead of FOR me, I come back to this Truth. I realize I’m in a season and that there’s something here for me. I have to learn to trust myself to know when to take action and when to surrender and when to do a little (or a lot) of each.
This story has come in handy with my kids too. The idea that they may not be here at all if I had gotten that interview the previous year helps them really get that you don’t always know why something is happening but you want to learn to trust that it’s happening FOR you.
Wouldn’t be amazing if we could have a wide-angled view of our lives so we could better understand why we’re going through some really challenging stuff when we’re knee deep in it?
What I’ve learned over the years of too often trying to push and pull and resist and control my life so much is that I do have a wide-angled view that gives me better understanding; it’s just not as clear as I sometimes wish it were. But it’s there and it’s this:
You never know when the Cute Guy from Gaylord who got hired before you is going to become the best thing that ever happened FOR you ... so relax, trust the process and keep the faith.