Eight months ago, my best friend told me she was pregnant. I was ecstatic – happy for her, her husband, her family, and for a new chapter of friendship that would be simultaneously just like it had before and also, entirely different. At that point in my life, I was in my last semester of graduate school and just beginning to study for the licensing exam that would later make me Sarah Henry, LGSW. I was looking forward to what was to come and proud of what I had worked through.
On March 27th, 2018, I passed that licensing exam.
On September 14th, 2018, her baby was born.
A lot has happened in-between.
Five months ago, the same friend and her amazing husband moved back to the small town in PA where her mommy and I spent years growing together. Swimming in lakes, making music videos, laughing until we cried...we, for the majority of the time, acted like complete lunatics and I loved every minute of it. The plan: to raise their soon to be daughter in the same place that her mommy had grown up, close to family and friends, and surrounded by a community of loving people. In that same month, I graduated with my MSW in Maryland, excited to take the world by storm as a new social worker, but nervous that my upcoming trip to Europe would interfere with my next professional goal – finding a job.
On July 1st, 2018, my fears were realized. Having just returned home from a trip that was incredible, eye-opening, and emotionally exhausting all at the same time, I was jobless, (mostly) penniless, and forced to take the step I had been hoping I wouldn’t need to take. I moved back in with my parents.
Just about three months have passed since then and I’ve found myself humbled by this process - having let go of many of the dreams I had six months ago to allow space in my heart for new ones to grow. It has been a process that has involved acceptance and forgiveness, all while dealing with a feeling of failure wrapped up in the realization that I have not yet reached the passion filled and deep-rooted goals I set for myself months ago.
In early July, the universe gave me hope – as I began a job search that still had so much potential for a positive outcome, I had faith in what was to come. But days and weeks passed and that hope dwindled as I drove from state to state for interviews that would come up short, watching the numbers on the gas gauge go up while my bank account quickly emptied. I wrote and submitted what seemed like buckets and buckets of cover letters, at least enough to start a decently sized bonfire, and networked until my capacity for any more human conversation had cracked. I faced frustration and tears. I felt lost and hopeless, and I just wanted to give up.
But August and September brought me excitement as I found joy in reuniting myself with other passions. I spent time nurturing old friendships and being reminded of the love within the community that I grew up in. I completed my first quilt - mentored by my mother whom I have watched for years making quilts for those she loves, including me. Today, I laid my sweet baby niece on this quilt, sitting beside one of my most special friends who has blossomed into the loving mother that I knew she would become the day she told me she was pregnant. I sat down and played the piano again, not only hearing the songs that I love but somehow, creating them myself. I picked up a pen and paper, wrote out my feelings, kept some to myself, and found the courage to share others with the world. And somewhere, somehow, I found the energy to write more cover letters, drive to more interviews, and sustain the exhausting reality that has and continues to be getting on my feet again.
Today, I feel calm. Maybe, it’s because I have been offered a few jobs, one of which I am feeling excited to accept and will likely begin in a few weeks; a job that I was drawn to only after allowing myself to let go of the very rigid career guidelines I created for myself months ago. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling grateful that the universe has somehow wiggled me through challenging times in order to bring me joy in others that I would have never experienced without those challenges. It reminds me that God has a funny way of putting us right where we are supposed to be and carrying us through moments that are honestly just the worst. I know I’m not alone in this. I know that many people find themselves feeling lost one month only to find hope again the next. I know that I am lucky to have hope at all because I have seen people live through realities that are much more horrifying than any I have ever had to face. I also know that at some point in my life, I will be met with hard times again, times that test my patience and make me question my own passions, some of which will be easier than others and some which may just make me feel like I am going to break again. I am no stranger to those moments, and I know I will never be stranger to them. I’ve found peace in knowing that they will come and I will meet them where they are with the strength that I have built along the way. I am encouraged knowing that I will continue to find comfort in the people, places, and things that exist by me, for me, and within me...through the dark, through the light, and through everything in-between.
Featured quote: "What is stronger than the human heart, which shatters over and over and still lives." -Rupi Kaur
Trigger Warning: This blog may discuss topics related to mental illness and trauma that could be potentially triggering. If you or anyone you know is in crisis, please click the link below for 24/7 support. Dial 911 if you or anyone you know is at immediate risk to yourself, themselves, or another.