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Saying Goodbye at Work

May 18, 2011

Friday was my last day at work.  I knew I would be sad–Wilson’s has been the best job I’ve had since moving back to Missouri five years ago–but I didn’t expect the outpouring of love.  People stopped in just to say goodbye, offering cards and hugs and so many well-wishes.  Their excitement buoyed me to a place of confidence, calm, and anticipation.  It’s no secret that I’ve been alternately terrified and elated the past few weeks, but after Friday all I can say is that I finally feel ready.

I’ve dreamed of traveling and living abroad for years so it feels surreal to watch that door finally open.  I’ve tried to do study abroad programs, applied for fellowships and jobs but have always watched it fall apart at the last minute.  It was always “I don’t have enough money” or “I don’t have enough time” or “I don’t have a good enough degree.”  So to finally be good enough to go and good enough to serve makes my cup overflow.

I think back ten years to when I was in high school and I wouldn’t have dared to imagine this day.  Weighing almost 300 pounds I barely wanted to leave the house, let alone the country.  Sure I wanted to, but people like me just didn’t do that.  Everywhere I went I felt people staring and judging–and these were supposed to be my own people!  Imagine in another country!  Adventure wasn’t for me.  Peace Corps wasn’t for me.  Working in a gym certainly  wasn’t for me.

Then one day I realized I could stay in that dark place or I could start climbing toward the light.  I couldn’t see it.  I didn’t even know if it existed.   …but what if it did?  …what if I could?  The potential benefits outweighed the risks so I started climbing.  As of last fall I had lost 120 pounds and run two half-marathons.  I was in the light, but I didn’t feel like I was at the top yet.  How would I know when I was there?  How would I recognize enough without chasing a number on the scale?

So last fall when Tia asked me if I wanted a job at Wilson’s I’m sure my jaw dropped.  MeWork at a gym?!  “But my arms are floppy and my whole body looks like it melted just a little in the sun,” I immediately thought.  But I accepted and I can’t thank her enough.  I wanted to work there, but I never would have asked because I was convinced I wasn’t good enough, that everyone would laugh as soon as I left.  So imagine my further shock when they asked me to teach classes!  For the first few weeks I held my breath, waiting to be discovered and outed as a fraud, but it never happen.  Instead I was welcomed with open arms by the members and my students.

Teaching was and is the best.  My students taught me so much about dedication, courage, and strength, about persistence and perseverance.  Sure it was an exercise class, but it was about so much more.  It was about becoming more than you knew you were, more than you knew you could be.  I hope they know how proud I am of each and every one of them.

Thank you, Wilson’s, for seeing in me what I was too shy to see in myself.  I have arrived at a place of strength and calm I didn’t even know in my dreams.  Like I tell my classes, just keep moving forward and you can get anywhere.  In three short weeks that mantra will take me to Africa!

Believe in the impossible.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. J. T. permalink
    May 27, 2011 7:47 am

    This is deep and very inspirational. I hope you dont mind me reading it but I’m glad I did because this has placed some motivation in me to step outside of my box/comfort zone and pursue goals without having the fear of failure. I hope you have a safe trip and thank you. 🙂

  2. Aunt Patty permalink
    June 1, 2011 2:37 pm

    Sharing your heart brought tears to my eyes. We are so VERY proud of you! Go light your world, we’ll be praying for you! XXOO

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