A Leap of Faith

She retired on December 31, 2003 from the printing company where she had worked for more than 35 years. She was 55 years old, her health was good, and she was okay financially. She had a nice circle of family and friends. Her marriage ended in a divorce 30 years earlier, but in the best interests of her two children, she and her former husband remained civil, and they both shared in the lives of their children.

She began thinking about what was coming next in her life. For several weeks she considered options. And although she didn’t figure out what it was, she knew there was something she wanted to do, something she wanted to start, a plan she wanted to set in motion. It came to her on Valentine’s Day.

Her oldest daughter invited her to a dinner for the whole family. Her ex was there as well. As usual they exchanged small talk and made nice. But this time, after dinner, he asked her a question. He asked what her plans were. She said she was considering several things, but wasn’t in a hurry to make any abrupt changes. Even though she said that, she was ready for something, something new, something with purpose.

They had met in college. She was a psychology major; she wanted to go into counseling. He studied forestry. After graduating he got a job with the state in the Department of Parks & Recreation. He proposed, she accepted, and part way through her junior year, they got married. She dropped out of college and got a job with a local printing company. Two years later she became a full-time wife and a new mom. When needed, she would help out at the printing company taking on assignments that she could do from home.

Shortly after their second daughter was born, he took a job with an international lumber company. Although a good career move, the amount of travel and the extended periods away from home became a problem. It was a difficulty that even the great salary he was paid couldn’t make up for or solve.

Theirs was one of those divorces that wasn’t the result of some terrible or egregious event like an affair. Theirs was more the result of a lack of care and attention to what was needed to make a marriage work for the long haul. That was why their relationship remained at least amicable.

His question set her to thinking. She contacted a local college to explore possibilities for completing her degree. Following an appointment with a program coordinator, she had a plan. With credit for life experience, she could finish a degree in counseling with 27 credits. It almost sounded too good to be true. She ran the idea past her kids. They were all for it, and some of the grandkids even weighted in offering their support. The real surprise came when her ex called and offered to pay her tuition, and as he put it, “With no strings attached.”

She decided to give herself to the end of the month to make a decision. The prospect was exciting but a bit daunting. What would happen if she started and couldn’t handle the academic rigors? Dropping out the first time was tough enough, but doing that again 35 years later would be doubly disappointing and thoroughly humiliating. And then there was the question of who was going to hire a 57-year-old grandmother to be a counselor with no experience in the field.

Sunday, February 29th of 2004 was a leap-year grant of an extra day, and she took pure advantage of it. She told herself that returning to college was not a sure bet by any means, but then she reminder herself that few prospects in life really are. She thought through some of the changes such a decision would make in her life, and then she reminder herself that she was looking for some change, and this could be it.

Finally, she told herself that it was a golden opportunity. People who loved her and cared about her were with her, and they assured her that they had faith in her potential to make it happen. All she needed was a little faith in herself. And on that extra day, a day granted once every four years, she decided to take a leap of faith, powered by some faith in herself!

Trusting and having faith in others and in something bigger than yourself are among the best resources for a life in which you can make the most of great opportunities. Having faith in yourself can power you to fully embrace and engage in such possibilities, with a periodic leap of faith!

2 thoughts on “A Leap of Faith”

  1. I wasn’t sure where this was going to. It is a great story. Thanks for sharing!

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