Two days before chocolate, roses and Valentines flooded the western world this February, my friend Leah and I hosted fifty-four single people searching for love. “Thirsty Goose Farm- love blooms here” became our mushy motto for the evening. Leah is the most relentless and determined match maker I have ever seen. Attempting to loosen up the awkward, uptight crowd for a playful evening of speed dating, she impulsively danced on top of the picnic table proclaiming “People, get excited! This is going to be the best night of your life- it’s the best night of MY life!”
Weeks earlier when singles began to RSVP for our unusual singles event, they would hesitantly ask for details of the night and finally confess, “this is really out of my comfort zone.” I congratulated them for stepping out and encouraged them that everyone else was feeling the same discomfort- but it was going to be fun. It was a level playing field with a new pitcher of questions every four minutes. Of course our zealous matchmaker Leah had daydreams of cupid crashing the party and arrows flying all over the farm, but our main goal was to bless single people with joy and friendship while building confidence as they survived and even enjoyed an experience out of their comfort zone. One must be willing to exit their corner of comfort in order to love, because love, like most valuable things, involves risk. Great risk.
Earlier this week I received a panicked call from one of my “adopted” sons. When his boss found out he was applying to graduate schools, he was pulled aside and told to make a choice- stay long term or quit today. Understandably, his boss didn’t want to invest so heavily in someone who was going to be leaving. Problem is, David hasn’t been accepted into a program yet, but he had to be honest and admit that he did hope to be leaving for school soon, so he arrived home that day unexpectedly unemployed. This young man is smart, dynamic and driven- he won’t have a problem finding a job to pay the bills until his plans come together. But he was seriously unnerved. I asked him what he was so scared of and he replied, “this isn’t how I planned it-I don’t have control of the situation and I don’t know what’s going to happen. “In my newly acquired southern momma accent I exclaimed, “Welcome to the real world, son”. I listened to his fears and then explained that all good things in life involve risk, and having control is an illusion. A dangerous one at times. “But what if my first choice in schools doesn’t accept me?” he asks. “Then you apply to another one. “ This young man carries great vision and ambition- risk will be a constant companion on his road to success. Best to make friends with it now.
After all this coaching and cheering of people out of their safety zones, I decided it was time to make a lap around the track myself. The night before my forty fifth birthday (still can’t believe I’m already that old!) I fluffed the pillows on my bed and plopped down with my old computer and crafted a resume. I quickly realized I haven’t written a resume in a very, very long time. Twenty-four years ago, fresh out of college, I went on my first professional job hunt with very little ammunition. Thankfully I landed a great position with the second shot and every job afterwards I’ve been recruited for. Now I am in a new state with not a single professional connection, and I have my sights set on an exciting public health program I read about in a book last year. Five years out of the traditional (paying) nursing role, I don’t have the leverage I used to. But I have experience and passion and I wrote a really convincing cover letter! Wish me luck.
PS- Well, I didn’t land the job. There are no positions available at this time, and nothing else posted appeals to me. No one even cared to read my clever cover letter:( That was a bit of a blow and it took a couple of days to shake off the disappointment. At the same time, I had several inquiries about the “success” of our speed dating night. I didn’t know most of the attendees and we didn’t involve ourselves in people connecting each other, so we don’t exactly know what came of that night. (We have knowledge of at least one date made.) But we do know that fifty four people drove all the way out to the farm and engaged and laughed and met new people. That feels like success to me. I didn’t land my dream job, but I have lots of work and life ahead of me this spring on the farm and in our community. What matters is we were brave and put ourselves out there. That gives us a chance of the right one coming along and finding us in the future.