As you may have guessed by now, the December and January posts on this blog are more about issues related to my current life than about the subject of memoir per se. That’s because Stuart and I are in the midst of major post-mid-life changes. Of course, these changes are relevant to the subject of memoir; we often chart our life stories from one change point to the next. As I consider going back to writing my childhood memoir-in-progress, what jumps out at me, like stars in a constellation, are points of change in my “one wild and precious life.”
Our current changes were precipitated by my joining the more than 14 million other Americans who are unemployed. Last July I lost what might have been the best job in the world, at least for me. I didn’t want to write about the change until I could tell you the ending of my story, but now that we are half-way through a series of decisions about place, family, work, and home, I thought I would share a few thoughts with you.
Many people have asked me why I am not angry about losing a perfect job. My answer varies depending on the light I can see at the moment, but here are a few reasons:
- because I sense that God has something different and better in mind for me
- because I love the people who made the decision to change, even when I don’t agree with them
- because no one else controls my attitude and my values. No one else grants me dignity. I think of little Ruby Bridges walking to grade school in Little Rock, and I keep walking through life’s school myself.
- because God has given me the gifts of gratitude, friendship, family, faith. I feel both more active and more passive than I have ever felt before. Creative ferment flows right now. Today I found a quote that explains the feeling well.
Jane Friedman, one of the best experts in the fields of social media and writing, put up a short quotation from Carl Jung today that she has permitted me to copy below. It seems so fitting for any memoir writer, since it focuses on the beauty and power of accepting what is. You could call this attitude love and forgiveness. You could call it detachment. No matter what you call it, it’s a powerful force in my life right now.
From an essay by C.G. Jung, where he quotes a patient:
“Out of evil, much good has come to me. By keeping quiet, repressing nothing, remaining attentive, and by accepting reality—taking things as they are, and not as I wanted them to be—by doing all this, unusual knowledge has come to me, and unusual powers as well, such as I could never have imagined before. I always thought that when we accepted things they overpowered us in some way or other. This turns out not to be true at all, and it is only by accepting them that one can assume an attitude towards them. So now I intend to play the game of life, being receptive to whatever comes to me, good and bad, sun and shadow forever alternating, and, in this way, also accepting my own nature with its positive and negative sides. Thus everything becomes more alive to me. What a fool I was! How I tried to force everything to go according to the way I thought it ought to!”
Do you agree with this quote? Have you ever experienced something similar in your own life? Please share.