I’ve Entered the Long Jump of Faith

“The woman silhouetted in the painting is leaping – with abandon and joy, it seems — across a chasm. She is looking ahead, at her goal, not down at what is or is not currently beneath her feet. Does she know, I wonder, what lies ahead? I doubt it – it seems clear that this is a leap of faith. Faith that she’ll land safely on the other side. Faith that the choice to leap was the right one. Faith that the time for leaping had arrived. And faith that, whatever awaits on the far side of the chasm, will be worth facing and taking the leap.” 
                   —Jenion, January 24, 2013 “Take a Flying Leap”
“And with that experience and knowing, perhaps it is time for me to become a person of faith, not just a person of beliefs. Time to close my eyes and take a step, trusting that I will put my foot down in the very place I need to be.”
                    —Jenion, April 4,  2013 “Have a Little Faith”

On Monday, April 22, 2013 I finally took the leap of faith that I’ve been working myself up to all year – I resigned from my job without having a clear idea of where I will land when my feet touch down on the other side.

Hopefully, there will be time before May 31, when my resignation takes effect, for looking back and celebrating. But right now, there are so many things that need to be done and prepared. It’s not one of those leaps that happens immediately – it is more like a slow-motion long jump. I pushed off the ground with my resignation, but I won’t actually be out over the chasm of the unknown for a little while yet. I have paperwork, planning, and packing to do before then. Mountains of each. I want to thank the friends and family with whom I endlessly debated my options – your promises that I would never be homeless or hungry went a long way toward lessening the fear of action.

What am I hoping for? I believe it is time to create a different life for myself. One in which I am not as limited by the demands of my job (nearly 20 years as a first-responder, ever on call, others as my top priority) so that I can be free in my off-hours to engage in a variety of pursuits that have been tabled – whether that is creative work or volunteering or exploring. I don’t know what the future holds. How strange is that feeling? I might find right livelihood quickly, or it may take a while. I might stay here or I might go elsewhere. I do not expect it to be easy, but I do expect that I will find my way.

Composing a life is an improvisation, one which calls on us to be clear about what we value so that the decisions we make along the way are made from the right place. Whether we are staying put or moving on, whether we are staying the course or charting a new path, we need to remain centered in what is real as opposed to what is mirage – what is true value as opposed to imposed value (imposed cultural values, such as “more is better” or “busy equals virtuous”). As environmental activist, Julia Butterfly Hill said during her campus address Monday, (serendipitously just hours after I tendered my resignation): “We are all co-creating our world every moment with every choice…Regardless of perceived boundaries. We are not victims, we are co-creators.”

The thing about a leap of faith is that you have to practice actual faith. Faith isn’t the absence of fear, rather it is the knowledge that beyond the fear lies the right path. Faith that, wherever my feet touch ground, I will be walking the path that I am meant to be on.

Dear readers, I hope that you will come on this journey with me – I will certainly be keeping up to date through weekly posts on Jenion! I’m interested in your stories of taking a leap of faith – please feel free to share your stories in the comments section!

13 thoughts on “I’ve Entered the Long Jump of Faith

  1. I stand at the far side of the chasm, with a host of others, applauding you, cheering you on, excited to watch as you fly, always ready to reach out our hands when you think you might fall, so that the landing on the other side is bigger and better than anything you’ve ever known! The company I keep on this side is a much larger community than you imagine, because you will never completely know all the people you have impacted, helped, and prayed for in your journey of life. It is my pleasure, OUR pleasure, to be here for you. This is so exciting!

  2. Congratulations and Oh Wow! I’m happy and sad for you! Mount Mercy could never, ever be the same place without you! Good luck and keep me posted!

    1. Thanks S.Bott! Will absolutely keep you posted – hope maybe we’ll have a gathering sometime early summer? I’ll have to talk Sara into hosting 🙂

  3. Cheers to new paths, big leaps, and abounding faith! What an exciting and scary position to be in, not knowing where you’ll be or what you’ll do, but knowing that the possibilities are endless. I’m a bit envious of your courage and determination; amazing things are ahead for such an amazing woman! Know that you touched too many lives to count in those 20 years and that there can only be more to come. So excited to hear what’s next for you!!

    Can dinner with The Allison be on the list soon??

    1. Would LOVE to have dinner with you, Allison! Thanks for your encouragement and kind words – I’m all over the emotional map these days, but I have to say I can never be anything but grateful for the amazing people whom I’ve met at MMU!

  4. Congratulations Jen!!!! It is such a hard decision to make. I quit my job after 10.5 years to move to Michigan to be with my partner and to go to school to be a massage therapist. A completely different career path than what I had studied at MMC. There was a level of risk that I was taking that I had never taken before. But I can tell you that almost exactly 3 years later it is one that I am so glad I took.
    I am doing a job that I love to do and I am trying hard to support others around me on finding and creating the roles that help their heart sing! You are supported and loved by so many! I am positive this next chapter will be a gigantic success!
    When I left my corporate gig a co-worker gave me a card with this quote: I think it is very fitting!

    “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt

    1. Thanks, Naomi – and for calling too! I’ve been so proud to follow your growth and path – keep living your beautiful dreams, my friend!

  5. True life happens when tiny changes occur. -Leo Tolstoy The cumulative impact of all the decisions you’ve made, tiny as they may have seemed at the time, have led you to this major change, and without a doubt, to true life! I’m so proud of you. 🙂

    1. Sue and Carol: The support from two of my oldest friends means a great deal to me. You’ve always encouraged my best self, and I can never thank you enough. Also, thanks to you both for the offer of a home and the help with job seeking/finding! Things are bound to turn out well with that kind of real help! Love you both!

  6. Congrats Jen! hope you got the 2 posts I sent you from Indeed.com! o know you know that you always have a place in Dublin CA to live. We’ve a room with a view (of Rumela’ school). All the best. I am here for you if and when you ever need me. Carol

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