The Question that Stopped Me in My Tracks...
Posted by Angie Spady on
Whether it's a positive trait of working with people, or my negative one of having a Scottish temper, both have impacted the choices I've made. It's simply how God made me and I'm trying to gain insight from those observations daily. When it came to career choices, my personality helped determine where I was best suited: a high school teacher, pharmaceutical rep and author. For others, taking on one of these jobs would have been a total nightmare. We're all different, thank goodness. For example, in no way could I work in the medical field, solve calculus equations or analyze the stock market. I'd be queasy, highly confused or penniless.
I'd also wager that many of us have made career decisions based on other factors. Financial necessities, a desire to impress others, or family priorities are often at the top of the list. Let's be real. But eventually, whether we like it or not, we must look into the mirror and ask ourselves one BIG question. I certainly wasn't prepared to ask it of myself just a few days ago.
When I moved to Santa Fe, I had no idea I'd be living across the street from an highly revered army colonel--a colonel who would turn my thinking on it's head. Enter Colonel Jesse Galvan. God could not have blessed me more with he and his wife as neighbors. They've lived all over the world, as Jesse has served his country in Iraq, Germany, Romania, England and I can go on and on. He now protects our country serving as director of security at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Jesse is a natural born leader. His personality dictates that. But while he can groove like the best of them to music or cry over the success of a soldier he's mentored, he can be "Jesse on the Watch" in a New York minute and not waiver from any task before him.
Jesse considers his target, makes a plan, takes action and then never looks back. For sure, he's one to observe and take mental note. Recently, I informed Jesse of my struggle, wrestling with the question, "What do I want to do with my life?" A loaded question, I know, but that's who I am, you see. I want God to use me, but just not sure how. Covid had wreaked havoc on jewelry businesses and mine was no exception. In no way, I informed him, that at age 56, do I have any desire to stay home, read books and watch TV. God didn't wire his crazy blonde daughter that way. Knowing Jesse's ability to analyze details, I informed him of a few interesting opportunities that had come my way recently. But just as I was about to ask his opinion on the pros and cons, he held up a stern hand, just like a colonel silencing his troops. Sensing imminent danger, this friend and confidant looked me straight in the eye and asked, "ANGIE, before you say another word, I gotta ask you something: WHAT IS YOUR WHY?!"
Huh? What kind of question was that? It caught me totally off guard. I'm sure he witnessed a frustrated deer-in-the-headlights look on yours truly. But rather than chastise me for being so clueless, Jesse gently smiled and asked, "Angie, what is your why? What is it that moves you, that excites you, that you're passionate about? That's your "WHY" and what you have to focus on. That's what will stir your heart and give you the greatest sense of accomplishment and peace."
Hmmm. I'd never thought about my life that way. Spiritually-speaking, I'm sure of my beliefs and give thanks for God's incredible grace on a daily basis. But this question in regards to career choice, was something entirely different. My friends, I'm seeing now that this question is a biggie for ALL OF US, especially as we get older. The time for repeats, second chances, etc gets smaller and smaller.
Take, for example, my cowboy, William. For over 14 years he had a successful career in sales and advertising in Minnesota. Like many of us, he chose a career that interested him and most importantly, paid the bills. Although William was great at his job, it didn't answer his "why," although he'd secretly known the answer his entire life. From the time he was a young boy, my cowboy had always known what he really wanted to do, but alas, fear and money reared their ugly heads. Finally, when he informed his colleagues that he was moving to Santa Fe to become a professional artist, they practically laughed him out of the room. But he wasn't surprised by the laughter. Most of them had never tried answering their own "why." How could they relate to someone who was trying to do that very thing? Bill's determination to go after his "why" led to him becoming a highly successful artist whose work is collected throughout the U.S. and featured in esteemed museums. But remember: It all started with answering a very important question.
I'm not surprised Bill and Colonel Jesse are great friends. Whether I observe them having a serious conversation about art or laughing over some silly boyish joke, I can tell they totally understand one together. Perhaps it's because both of these men chased after their "why." And in one way or another, they've got the scars to prove it. It's given me much to think about. Thanks to both the wisdom of my neighbor and the art adorning my walls, I'm reminded it's finally time to ask myself the same question.
While designing jewelry and writing this blog, I receive emails from so many women, saying, ”Thank you for writing that, you spoke directly to my heart. You get it. You totally get it.” Friends, I take that responsibility seriously.
Additionally, when I consider moments that have given me the greatest sense of euphoria, I instantly think of working with young people--kids from 7-17. Whether selling pizza as a fundraiser so I could take students to Europe, high-fiving a teen who passed one of my history exams, or reading a chapter book to a 3rd grader and watching her giggle hysterically, I know that is part of my WHY. Writing and working with women and children. I'm not 100% positive, but I'm pretty confident that's where my answer resides.
What about you? What is your "why?" It is my prayer, dear friend, that we all can name it out loud and LIVE IT. For when we do, we will hit our stride and never look back. I know the good colonel agrees whole-heartedly..
Seek it out and know I'm cheering you on from Santa Fe!
Brightest of Blessings,