There were a few things in life that my father was adamant about while we were growing up, and one was his radio. On those cold Oregon mornings, the speakers crackled with KBZY, the local AM station, just waiting for Dad to leave so we could flick that little switch from AM to FM and tune it to the station that just screamed coolness, Z100. At the time I thought talk radio would surely be the death of me (and never mind my own NPR obsession now – are you there Ira, it’s me, Cara…), but I remember fondly Paul Harvey’s send off quote: “And now you know the rest of the story.” We’d say it along with him, pausing after “the rest,” jutting our chins out like we were an old man winking into the crackling microphone.
And here I am, at my own Paul Harvey moment in life. The problem is, of course, that I don’t know the rest of the story – in fact, I haven’t the slightest idea what’s in store. Tomorrow marks my last day with Young Life, a ministry that I have been a part of for the past 18 years, first as a student, then as a leader, and finally on staff for the past seven and a half years. So tomorrow I’ll pack up the office, and I’ll shoot off the final files and clean out my inbox; I’ll do one last lunch with Cathy D and Shan Shan, and we’ll reminisce and then the clock will strike 5.
And then Tuesday morning will roll around, and since it’s a national holiday, I won’t think much of it – but then Wednesday morning will come, and I won’t have an email to write. I won’t have a donor to meet with or a meeting to organize or Cash Flow to check, but I’ll just have little Canon beside me. I’m thrilled and I’m delighted and I’m scared out of my mind all at the same time. I always thought that I’d at least work part-time when we had kids, but then the kid came, and babies, I realized, are a game changer. But still, come September and it was time to return to work, I wanted to have it all: yes, I can work full-time and care for my baby and finish up grad school and be a good wife, and perhaps have a life on the side as well. I think I secretly wished for a cape with a big “S” on the back, along with my own personal secretary and perhaps an extra six hours in the day.
But that’s also when I started to learn that even if I can do something, it doesn’t necessarily mean it should be done, or that it’s healthy in the process.
I suppose that’s part of the present-day conversation, that women can’t have it all. The tension is present, the paradox exists, and every woman everywhere who brings a baby into this world has a choice to make. And no matter what choice we make, the decision’s gonna be tough. It’s hard if you stay home, and it’s hard if you go back to work. It’s hard if you work part-time, and it’s hard if you work full-time, even if you’re able to take your baby along with you (like I found myself doing).
And so we – me, myself and I, with a little man on the side – enter into the rest of the story this week, although to me, it seems as though we don’t know the rest of the story as much as we just plain have the rest of the story. On one hand, I’m delighted to be able to slow down, and have the time to dream and think and read and actually put words to the many thoughts swirling around in my head, further pursuing the dream of writing and speaking. I can’t wait to walk the streets of San Francisco with my little man, and get to know the various neighborhoods, and become a regular at a local coffee shop. I’ll finish my Master’s and I’ll hit up the YMCA; we’ll have more than Trader Joe’s frozen meals for dinner, and I’ll begin to rest and decompress and get to know who I am outside of my identity in ministry. This last one, perhaps, is the trickiest, and it’s the thing that scares me the most, but I know I have to deal with the muck inside, processing and just learning to BE, outside of a job title.
So will you join me? Will you join me as together we begin to learn …the rest of the story? Click on “Follow Me” over in the right hand column, and join in the journey with me.