Daring to Hope

So many times in my life I have been afraid to dream. Wishing for things doesn’t make them happen. Hard work, diligence, determination. Those behaviors make things happen. But it feels so much more fun to dream, so much more energizing.

My daughter Rose and her husband have been dreaming for the last year, hoping to become homeowners. It’s been a rough ride for them. They put in several offers only to be pushed away by higher bidders or houses not up to code because of mistakes made by contractors or appraisals much lower than the selling price. It was tough to watch this young couple trying so hard to follow the process and jump through the right hoops when really very little was in their control. They quickly became discouraged and were about to give up when it happened. They found a house they wanted, put an offer in the same day, waited, and proceeded to be tossed and turned through the process. The sellers agreed on a price. The inspection came back with some required updates, albeit minor. The sellers resolved the problems. Then the appraisal came in too low and we all thought it was a dead deal. Imagine our shock when the sellers agreed to lower the price. It was at that point that Rose began to feel like it might just happen. But she was afraid to hope for it. The closing got scheduled, then moved out, then scheduled again. The day before the rescheduled closing, it was discovered that names were misspelled on all the documents. So it was rescheduled again. Rose couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep. And then it happened. Everything fell into place and they are proud first-time home owners as of this week. And now they are full of ideas and dreams, talking about painting and pulling up old carpeting, and planting a garden. The rough ride is behind them. They have energy. They have dreams.

Interviewing for jobs is much the same roller-coaster process. All my life I’ve hated riding roller coasters. I can’t stomach the ups and downs, the twists and turns. But I know that sometimes a person has to take the ride or never have a chance of creating change. For me, the entire process is wrenching. I want to believe. I want to have faith. I want to hope and imagine possibilities. But I’m so afraid of the freefall that occurs when the dream doesn’t materialize and I’m faced with reality and an inability to foster change.

But desperate times call for desperate measures. I took a chance on applying for a job in an industry I’ve never worked. This week I had a third interview, one that lasted several hours and had a revolving door of people asking me questions. As time ticked by, I could feel hope creep into my body. People talked to me about problems they (and I) know I can solve. They talked about fostering change and all the hard work they’ve done. And they asked me questions trying to determine if I’m the one they want to add to their team. “Pick me! Pick me!” I wanted to shout out loud. But I know desperate people are usually not the chosen ones. So I did my best to remain calm on the outside, answering every question with careful but educated answers. And now I wait. It’s as if I’m perilously perched at the top of a roller coaster hill, waiting to find out if I’m safe and I can climb higher, or if I’m going into freefall and my ride will be returned to the starting line.

Next steps? If I’m lucky, I will be invited back for a fourth interview that will require me to travel to another state and to sit through an entire day of meetings and interviews. Hope is creeping in. I’m writing this in the wee hours of the morning because my dreams won’t let me sleep. I’m smart enough to know this isn’t over until it’s over and someone is offered a job. But suddenly, despite all my efforts to hold them at bay, Hope and Dreams are swirling about me. Do I dare reach out and grab hold of them? If I can’t grab them, will I survive the fall?

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