Email to an old therapist

I’m not sure if I’m going to send this email. I don’t want to bug you. But I started to write it last night as I was going to bed, and it stuck with me until morning. So here it is. 
We move across the country in five days. I’m still excited, and have peace of mind about the decision to move. That’s what we always pray – for God’s sense of peace in our decisions. And we have that. 
I didn’t think I’d feel anything about leaving VA. But I’ve had an impact here – in bringing and starting and leading the Fresh Hope group (support group for those with mental health challenges and those who love someone like that – freshhope.us), and in my volunteering at the Daily Living Center (adult daycare). Both groups gave me farewells this week – they said very affirming and humbling things. I’m really going to miss the friendships and the leadership opportunities that they afforded, as well as the relationship aspects. I’ve said goodbyes to friends at church – did I even know I had friends at church?!
We’re going to a farewell dinner tonight – with people my husband used to work with, and my two other friends here. They’re not long relationships like I had in WI, but friends nonetheless. Which is more than I’ll have when I get to CO. I know some people there, so it won’t be a completely blank slate. But the pressure is on me and me alone to make friends – there’s no job or kids to provide an introduction into a new situation. 
You know me and change – I always find it hard. And I’ve had to move so many times in my adult life. Each move has begun with a mild depression, except the one that started my entire journey with depression – that one was deep and dark and long. That move, which should have been simple since I was moving back to a place I had lived before, was the impetus for years of the battle with depression. Of course, if it hadn’t been for that, I never would have met you. And you counseled me through all those years to a healthier me, for which I am forever thankful.
Seems my thoughts always turn toward you, and the safe place of your office, sitting slouched on your couch, when my mood is down. And despite my excitement for the move, my mood was down last night and this morning. 
I’ve really liked my most recent therapist – she understood me quickly, though we didn’t go through depression together. I’ve said goodbye to her, but she’s offered to counsel me if I need her before I find someone out there. Until her, I feel like I’ve never really had anyone besides you, so this is new. Maybe it means I won’t call you in distress, if I have distress. Will I have distress? I’m trying not to assume so. 
Anyway, I wanted to touch base, as I always do when I’m facing change. So maybe I’ll hit send after all. 

Passion

I’ve been thinking about passion lately. Not the kind I have for my husband, though thinking of that is good😉. No, I mean the kind of passion that motivates me, sparks me, keeps me awake at night in anticipation and planning.

I recently realized that there’s a big difference between liking my job and being passionate about it.

I had a job that I was passionate about for many years: my job at the Children’s Museum of La Crosse. I admit, though, after 11+ years, I was ready for the change that inevitably came because of our move from the state. I was ready to not be working. As much as I enjoyed the kids and field trips and exhibits, and I loved my co-workers, I was ready for a break. I could tell, towards the end of my tenure there, that my enthusiasm had waned a little. I suppose that’s normal.

I worked as a receptionist/administrative assistant for a year and a half, and I really enjoyed that job. It was rewarding to be the first face/voice for folks contacting the church, and typing out the prayers for the bulletin greatly enriched my life personally. There, too, I loved the people I worked with.

I like the job I have now, particularly lately, as I have some administrative responsibilities. I like working with my student and family, and subbing with other students keeps it fresh and new. And I like my coworkers, here, too. I like the job, but it’s not my passion.

For a while, I felt like I could only stay in the job if I was passionate about it. But I’m realizing that it’s enough to like it, to be good at it, to enjoy the encounters as they occur. And it’s okay that I find my passion other than in my work.

My passion – the spark in my life – is this peer-led support group for folks with mental illness, and their loved ones. Our Fresh Hope group starts in January, and we’re in the final phase of preparing for our first meeting. It’s exciting! For me, it feels like a burden that God has placed on my heart is finally taking flight. Like the dream He gave me is coming true. And while I feel inadequate for the job, I realize that I will be totally dependent on God’s power for any good thing that will result. Therefore, I’m expecting great things!

I have other passions. My kids, of course, and everything about them and their lives. Having deep friendships – that’s a passion, though a bit elusive still. I’m passionate about Jesus, and the way He’s worked in my life to enable me to share those lessons with others.

I’m not passionate about activities – not about exercising or reading or cooking or even knitting or blogging, though I enjoy those last two. My passion is about people, relationships, and connections.

When I think about the things that truly make me happy, they’re all about being with people. People I love. People I care about. People I’ve walked through life with. The people I work with at my job and where I volunteer, the folks who will come to the Fresh Hope group, the Fresh Hope Facilitator team, my family – these are my passions.

Jobs are good. Passions are life-giving. I’m fortunate to have both!