the 5%

May 14, 2010

I resigned on Tuesday.  My job was one of those soulless corporate gigs – investment banking to be exact.  I never once said growing up that I wanted to buy and sell banks for a living, but I fell into it after college – and the money was good – so onward I went.  Disingenous things have a funny way of wearing you down, as was the case with my work.  Little by little, I lost pieces of myself.  That is until Tuesday, when I finally mustered the courage to draw the line and walk away.

Life has shifted in an entirely new direction – away from what I’d planned it to be or thought it had to be – and it feels very good.

As most would, after the closest circle of family and friends were told, I posted the news on my Facebook.  I’m not sure I expected a response at all and if I did, I’m not sure what I expected people to say.  Within an hour, I was overwhelmed.  From people who I’ve loved & lost, to ones who simply sat next to me in class, to my closest advisors, to my random-see-at-parties friends; they spoke.  They offered words of encouragement, affirmation, support, enthusiasm.  They shared their stories of similar decisions, subseqent challenges, and enduring freedom.  They filled my heart and shaped my soul.

45 people commented, which I thought was staggering.  It is.  That’s forty-five people standing with me.  It wasn’t just the posts, it was the emails, tweets, texts, calls, BBMs…it seemed any way people could communicate they did.

When I considered the 45 comments on my facebook status, it occurred to me that meant 95% of my friend said nothing.  I know there are lots of people on facebook who don’t check or don’t comments – but that’s not what struck me.  The 5% taught me something

Asking connects us.  Asking for friends.  Asking for support.  Asking for advice.  Asking for a help.  I didn’t think I was asking for anything that day – but maybe I was.  And those people knew.  They knew the question beneath the statement was “will you still love me?” “Will you still love me if I am not smart, rich, powerful, funny, or talented?”  “If I change who you know me to be will you still love me?”  “If my decision leads to a big mess, will you stand by me?”  Maybe I needed the people in my life to step up and be there for me in a way I couldn’t be for myself.  I am not sure what I was asking that day, but I’m grateful for those that saw the more than “resigned…” and responded.

Asking connect us.

Perhaps you’ve asked before.  Perhaps you’ve found yourself at a place in life where you need to hear and feel love from the people in your world.  And maybe they said no.  Maybe they said your depression is just a phase and your loneliness will pass.  Maybe they offered empty words that were more polite than penetrating.

Keep asking.  My full heart and facebook experience taught me to keep asking.  Ask 20 people – 1 will hear you.  One will help you.  One will celebrate with you.  One will grab your hand and not let go until you realize your life has value and that you are here on purpose and for one.  You matter and maybe only 5% of the people can enter the moment where you doubt that the most – but 5% will.  So keep asking, keep talking, keep looking – you will find life, love, and freedom.

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