Tuesday, May 18, 2010
A Long and Winding Pentecost Story... Part 2
A word about my life - as I said in the first installment. I hated my job but loved most of the people I worked with. As I was mired in debt and lost as to what my life calling was, I felt trapped. It did not seem like I could leave my job... I did not have a clue at what I wanted to do and I felt terrified about changing it or trying something else. Even though I was an executive with a good position, I did not feel competent to do much.
My depression was lurking, untreated and largely unnoticed. I just wrote a comment on another blog in which I said:
I recall days when I felt like I was walking around with a tunnel or a tube around me. I could essentially hear and see the world around me and even interact with it, but the whir of my own despair was a constant hum that created some distance. My depression was lived out in an entirely highly functional life.
It was May of 1995 and at that time my former employer still had what they called "Service Award Dinners." These events were to congratulate employees on length of service; you would get a pin and people would say nice things about you. Oh yes, it was hokey, but it was also kind of nice. Those days are so long gone. That may have been one of the last ones actually.
One of my employees in the Chicago office, a woman who had helped me find some courage and integrity at one point, was getting her five year pin. I flew out to Chicago on Friday afternoon for the Friday night event. I couldn't tell what I hated more - my job or myself.
Off we went to the dinner and I endured it as waves of anger and self-pity alternated washing over me. Don't get me wrong, I really cared for this particular employee but I hated this dinner. One woman was getting a 45 year award. I thought to myself, "Oh God, kill me before that happens!"
The saving grace of the whole thing is that I was going to wake up on Saturday and take a train to Harvard, Illinois. There, my cousins, those prairie Jews from Rockford, would pick me up and we would finally be together. It kept me afloat.
On Saturday morning I ran over to the big Crate&Barrel store on Michigan Avenue to buy my cousins a gift. It was such a big, shiny, bright and beautiful store filled with bright,shiny and beautiful people working there.
And they all seemed... so happy. It was as if I were a hound a a scent had crossed my path! Happiness... Nose down and focused I looked all around me... Pillows, table ware, kitchen goods, vases and all sorts of lovely things! Wine glasses! Pitchers! Platters! Planters! And all the nice happy people who were selling them!
It hit me... A Crate&Barrel was about to open in White Plains, where I lived at the time. No... I couldn't possibly.
Oh. Yes. I. Could.
Would I really embark on a career there?
No more time to consider that, I had to rush to make my train now after dawdling among the shiny objects of C&B. I got on my train, nervous and excited to meet my cousins. And I spent the better part of the ride, watching Chicago yield to suburbia which became farmland and dreaming of life in a black and white apron, with the best accessory of all.
To be continued...