Training While on the Sidelines

I've been sidelined.

Prior to finding out I was pregnant I was studying and taking the Bar Exam in my pursuit of becoming a licensed attorney. I was also dancing in my churches dance group, "Chosen" and teaching Sunday School. I was being elevated because I had been faithful during the time when I was going through my separation and divorce. I never missed a Sunday or Bible Study, I fasted and prayed and lost almost 40 pounds in the process. I found myself and I was loving myself- my new free self. But something happened that sidelined me so now I'm still training while on the sidelines.

This blog was inspired by the many people who get "redshirted" or who get benched for the first few seasons (or years) of their professional athletic career. I was thinking in church last Sunday how hard it is to train when you know you are not actually going to play in the game. I always thought my life would be a lot different than it is right now. I'd be famous by the time I was 25 (and rich) with no responsibilities. I thought I'd be able to switch careers like clothes and pursue my many passions. But life didn't quite turn out the way I'd hoped. Like the athlete who spends time on the bench watching others play, I haven't quite found my groove. God was showing me, however, that although I'm on the sidelines I still have to train as though I'm going to start in the game this Saturday.

I filed for divorce on Wednesday, the second week in September. I'll never forget. I'd fasted for 30 days after I came home to find my husband had left and moved to Washington D.C. It was easy to fast since he was the cook in the family and I didn't even know where the cooking utensils were in the house. As I went full-time at my job at the law firm of Haynes and Haynes, the kids were left with my Grandmother to fend for themselves (which could explain my one daughters 15 pound weight gain in just a few months). They had endless days of Donatos Pizza and other fast or frozen process food. My work day was supposed to end at 5pm, but that rarely happened. The hours required to work in order to curry favor in the boss's eyes exceeded what I felt was healthy for a family of three children, one parent and an 84 year old caretaker.

My grandmother was a lifeline during these days. She helped me process what was going on and she kept the kids so I didn't have to worry about where they were while I was at work. I told people over and over again that my job was holding me together. If it wasn't for the income and the stability of my job I would have lost my mind. Becareful what you say. I walked into my job on October 17, 2005, the day after the new Bankruptcy law passed and found my box packed and waiting by the door. I was laid off. A blessing and a challenge! I could spend the time with my children that was so needed at this time in their lives but how would I pay the bills!??? I had enrolled my daughter in private school based on my income and now... Well, I qualified for unemployment and have been living on that until this month. Also, my daughter competed for and was the recipient of the only scholarship given in the whole school. By January, Kaissa was in private school, too. Thank God. We've had lean days, but believe it or not the kids' Christmas this year was the best ever. My former boss adopted my family and bought the kids more toys than I have ever bought them at Christmas. Talk about blessed. We have not gone without not one day.

While I'm on the sidelines, I've decided to train. My marriage may have ended in divorce, but there is someone out there for me, so I have to begin to prepare myself for that man. I ask myself constantly what could I have done to make the marriage work, what choices could I have made differently. I truly believe if you don't pass the test you will have to repeat the course. I kept taking jobs that I knew I was not equipt to do well, thinking that "this time it would be differen't." I will no longer do that even if I get a lucrative offer to be in a law firm. Although my legal knowledge will be used in some form in my life, I know deep down in my soul that writing is what I've been called to do. I have decide to develop my craft while on the sidelines. The most important thing I can do while on the sidelines is take care of myself so I can be an awesome mother. Being a mother is the single most important job I've ever had, so despite the fact that I was fired, let go, or quit my last three jobs, this job I will never be fired from and I won't quit. I have a duty to educate and help socialize my children into the adults they will become. I take that job seriously. So, while sidelined, the game goes on. And when it's my turn to put on my helmet and score the game winning touchdown, with God's grace, I'll be in the best shape of my life. I'm training now for the game that is to come.