Through this series of blogs, I explore the process I went through before leaving the legal profession as an attorney and jumping on a plane to Europe for an adventure that led me deep into my own subconscious.
Collectively, we are all questioning our roles in a society that is forced to change. With the arrival of covid, the old way no longer makes sense. The slowing down of society has made our footprint on the earth more visible. No longer can our impact on the environment be denied. Yet, the new way has yet to reveal itself. What are we to do? How are we to find pleasure in the darkness of an unknown future?
While the times we face may rattle us and bring up fear, they serve a great purpose. Often, events occur in our lives specifically to force us to ask questions. Questions create openness and curiosity within the mind. The more we question, the more we open ourselves to the possibility of change. Of gaining insight or understanding. Of allowing the truth to reveal itself.
While practicing law as a criminal prosecutor, I woke up one morning ready to head to work. The day before, I had begun selecting a jury for a habitual Driving While Impaired trial. My alarm went off at 5 a.m. I put on gym clothes and turned on the coffee maker. Noises from outside drew my attention. When I looked out the window, my breath nearly caught in my throat.
The small creek behind the townhome I had purchased seven months prior had overflowed. There was no grass, and no barrier separating the water from my home. It had risen several feet high. The torrential downpour continued.
Unsure of what to do, I laid a few towels by the front door and continued making my breakfast. My nerves, however, were already shattered. As I sat down at the round wooden table to eat eggs and toast, the water began to creep in under the sliding glass door.
My seat pushed back abruptly. Then the phone rang.
“Honey, are you awake?” asked my neighbor, Jimmie. “You need to get out, quickly!”
I opened the door, as water accompanied by mud and debris gushed over my legs. My instinct was to slam the door shut.
“The water is going to come in no matter what,” Jimmie said as he urged me to step outside.
I pulled open the door again and stepped onto the front porch. The water met my calves. The street was several feet higher than the paved parking lot below, just in front of our town homes. My car was nearly covered in water.
By the time the firefighters arrived, I had to half swim, half walk through chest-deep waters in order to reach the sidewalk. I held my phone, the only possession I thought to bring, above my head. My bare feet contacted the grass when the firefighter pulled me up by the arms and wrapped a blanket around my shoulders. He offered me his cup of coffee. Its warmth comforted me as I watched the rain continue to wreak havoc.
The street itself began to flood. For hours, I stood and watched all that I had worked so hard to obtain be destroyed before my very eyes. My car. My home. The possessions inside. The waters ultimately reached over five feet high inside.
Clearly, I couldn’t get to work. The stressful trial that had consumed my attention for months no longer mattered. I was left – literally – with the clothes on my back. The experience washed away the confidence I had in the life expected of me. Friends, family and coworkers helped me find my footing again. They picked me up. Offered me food and a place to stay. The love they gave me superseded anything I lost in the flood.
My security – up until that day – had been found in having a home. A career. A goal. All the faith and certainty I put in following the straight path to “success” disappeared. It wasn’t certain after all. That moment, standing in awe of the destruction of my home, tore away any attachments. The only thing that remained was myself. The questions began to bombard me:
Why did I work so hard?
Why was I so focused on achievement?
What did life look like without these things?
A mild depression took me through months of questioning, as I lived in a friend’s garage apartment while my home was reconstructed. I had gone directly from high school to college to law school to the prosecutor’s office. My sights were set high.
Did it matter anymore?
Did I care to continue down the same path?
What was the purpose of it all?
Wasn’t there something greater and more meaningful?
What had been missing?
How could I find it?
Questioning led me to begin the Search, which is the topic of next week’s blog. Sign up for emails to receive notifications of a new post. In the meantime, let me know the questions that have been arising within you by posting below.
© Jessica Falcon 2020.