Self Portrait #3

Have you ever seen a picture of yourself standing in a place of strength? I mean, I know I’m not the only one who feels small in the face of all that is happening in the world.... It’s easy to forget that one person can make a difference. 

This is the picture, the last one that was handed (emailed) to me after a good but rough 2018.

So rough, in fact, that I was sick every six weeks. I had recurring bouts of hives that would last for 7 days at a time. And, when I didn’t have hives, I had blisters on my lips and inside my mouth. There was the asthma and the migraines. I had been tested for every autoimmune disease. All of which came back negative. This was all very frightening and confusing. All the while I was working a job that I absolutely loved and believed in, but also felt wholly untrained for the position. I learned a lot about myself, about human beings that are broken and attempting to start over, and about the strength that lies at the core of each of us.

Early last May, I started to look into going back to school and as I started exploring my options, I found myself drawn to the counseling program at Northwest Nazarene University. It’s practical and well regarded training program, it’s do-able and fairly quick schedule, and their job placement program were music to my ears. But that meant I would probably need a more flexible job. So that search began at the end of the summer.

I was offered a job and acceptance into NNU’s program on the same day. 

When this picture was taken, I had just put in my notice at work. We had a major fundraising event scheduled. I was exhausted. Couldn’t imagine leaving and could hardly believe that I had been given this huge opportunity.

I keep this framed on my desk. 

I keep this framed on my desk. 

So far that year, I’d been given two pictures of myself. The first a picture of the dreamer, the one who needed to make meaning and loved Language. The second, the one who became a professor and was leaning into advocacy and all that carried with it.

But, this picture brought me to my knees. I was given a picture of my strength. Here I was, feeling so small and tired and unsure of what the next year would hold. So I held on to this woman, and these people best I could. And sometimes, that is exactly enough.

This is Not the End,