2nd PLACE IN ENSPIREME: PASSION PROJECT’S SHORT STORY CONTEST (2020)
Hope is a glimmer of sunlight in the midst of a storm.
It doesn’t bring promise of immediate change
And it cannot promise you when it will get better
But it reminds you that the storm cannot last forever.
It was a dark place I was living in.
‘If life is this uncomfortable, this difficult, how do I keep going?’
was my thought process.
It terrified me.
Nothing felt like me.
I was unable to see any good.
I was isolated.
My “home” felt like a torture chamber,
a reminder of my loneliness and dissatisfaction and restlessness,
My relationship and the life I had imagined was shattered,
And my job was a dead end.
I was left to pick up the pieces but had no idea where to start,
No clue what I wanted or what direction to start in.
For a long time, I woke up to face each day completely hopeless,
Gripped by fear of what this life had become
from the moment I took my first conscious breath of the day,
until I could quiet the fears enough to fall asleep.
For months I prayed prayers I was convinced weren’t heard
But for some reason,
I kept crying out.
I didn’t know how to piece life back together or what I even wanted.
All I knew was that I needed a change.
I put in notice to quit my job
And informed my apartment complex I would be terminating my lease.
I didn’t know what the next move would be,
despite endless prayers asking for guidance,
but I pushed on
eventually realizing that making a decision was the only way to make a change,
even if it proved to be the wrong decision.
I had no way to go but up.
Anything would be better than where I found myself.
I thought long and hard about what I wanted.
Mountains, running, skiing — that was the criteria.
I considered life in Bend, OR or Bishop, CA.
I could see it yet it didn’t feel right.
There was no excitement, only more fear.
Then my glimmer of hope came.
I was looking at a list of travel PT jobs
Researching the proximity of each town to either the mountains or the ocean
When it jumped out at me.
Sports Medicine in the big city.
For the first time in nearly a year
My heart skipped a beat.
Maybe this was the next adventure.
I was scared, under-qualified,
and yet somehow that made me certain it was right for me.
Maybe this was hope for a better life
And an end to the agony.
I scheduled a phone interview
And managed to charm my way through it.
Despite a lack of experience with the patient population,
They chose to give me an opportunity.
This was my first sign of hope.
I packed up, moved, and started a new job.
It was exciting
Yet I was filled with discomfort.
I battled with imposter syndrome
And the loneliness followed me.
But a community began to grow around me.
I was welcomed into a work family
And friendships began to spring up.
Slowly I began to shed the discomfort and pain like an old skin I was outgrowing
Until I found myself in a life that was perfect for me
But could never have dreamed for myself.
And in that I found hope.
God had been plotting all along
and piecing together a story better than anything I could have schemed up myself.
Now this temporary travel job has turned into a permanent job offer
and I live amidst unreal beauty (see pictures posted)
that reminds me of the goodness of God.
On both the good days and the challenging days,
I whisper a prayer of thankfulness
For the blessing of a new life and the hope for continued goodness
And the storm that gave way to the sunshine and blue skies.
Hope is twofold.
Hope is the goodness we find in the struggle that keeps us going.
Hope is also the pain we have experienced
but have overcome
that shows us we are strong enough to, yet again, overcome.
If I didn’t know it before,
I am now more confident that
God is with me
And that I am strong enough to overcome
By: Caroline Rybicki