Letting go of a beloved job is hard

A golden ash towers over our backyard. Most of its leaves, welcome shade in summer, have already fallen, strewn across the lawn like cornflakes that missed the breakfast bowl. In the next few weeks, the remainder will surrender to the season and quietly let go. They’ll dance for a time in the space between their home limb and the ground, then come to rest. Effortlessly.

But an odd sight puzzled me this morning. Blowing this way, then that, one amber leaf danced in mid-air. On the way down for certain, but never landing. Something, some invisible gossamer thread, stopped it. It twirled and spun, seemingly undecided about where to land.

I’ve been on medical leave from my job almost six months now. Post-COVID, I still have unpredictable crashes that land me on the couch or in bed all day; feeling as though the entire infection has begun all over again. That happens less frequently now. My leave is over soon. Thank God, who made our bodies to heal, it seems my health is returning. So could I.

But I’ve made a big decision. It’s time to let go. This is the year. I don’t want to use the “R” word, though I’m the right age, if there is one. The Preacher needs me. (We need each other.) Half our six grandbeans, who live nearby, are teens approaching adulthood. I want to enjoy them and their younger siblings while they still enjoy me. I have things I hope to accomplish while still able. No one has the guarantee of future health. The pandemic years have taught us that lesson well.

 Nevertheless, like that leaf suspended in mid-air, something invisible keeps me twirling too. Unable to land at a place of peace. Did I make the right decision? Why do I still feel so connected? What is the gossamer thing tying me to what I will soon leave behind. A paycheque? Pride—loss of mistakenly perceived esteem or influence?

Silly me. I never expected that leaving my position as a parliamentarian’s constituency assistant, which I’ve loved for over eleven years, would  feel more like severing a limb than embracing freedom. And yet, almost everyone I’ve spoken with who has left a long-time career, tells me they felt the same at first.

After I’ve left the office for the last time, I expect I’ll keep writing, as I always have. Columns and articles, perhaps an e-book compilation of past published essays. This morning, I’m doing that from our tiny backyard quiet place, the perfect (for us) cabin Rick and Benjamin built with more love than expertise. But who knows what God has in mind for the days ahead? I want to stay open to serve as he directs.

Wind’s up today. Ash leaves float past, exquisite flashes of gold, alone in the air for a brief moment of freedom. No limb to restrict. No guarantee where they’ll land. But there they are, flying. Looking for all the world as though they’re having a grand time.

With God’s help, I have determined to do the same.

Two beloved bosses – former Member of Parliament, Garry Breitkreuz, and current MP, Cathay Wagantall. I’m so glad I had someone take this photo.

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