Wednesday, October 26, 2011
What I Learned from a Cockroach
I'm afraid of bugs...always have been. I remember them knocking and buzzing at the screen as I tried to sleep on a hot "unairconditioned" night in Chicago when I was a young girl.
It was the mid '90s on a sultry afternoon in New Orleans. I just left our company's partner conference. I was in turmoil about whether to leave the company that was faltering; it was just a matter of time before it would go belly up. Layoffs were underway, and the high-tech giant was floundering.
I was burned out; and as the workers left, the rest of us shouldered more of the load. I had reached a fork in the road--stay or go before the end. I was offered a corporate position, but it was really too late for a turnaround. If I left, I had no idea what I would do next. I felt "stuck" by my responsibilities and could not see a way out.
I love art glass, so I couldn't pass up the chance to watch the amazing process of golden, liquid glass being fired. It was an old warehouse with a tall, arched glass skylight, a dramatic rooftop for the fiery ovens below where the glass was given its final form.
Suddenly a storm blew in, the sky blackened, and lightening streaked above the skylight putting nature's fireworks on display, a theatrical production of fire and rain clashing as the glass was creatively brought to life by the glassblowers. It was a dramatic moment of blazing fire, pounding water and lashing wind.
A deluge struck the building and we were caught on foot in a flash flood. The street quickly filled up with rushing water. We took off our shoes, rolled up our slacks, and waded into thigh-high murky water, feeling the pavement under our feet, but unable to see what was beneath the quickening current.
We sought higher ground and saw an historic townhome nearby with a dozen steps up to its landing. We climbed as quickly as we could to safety as the water continued to rise.
Once again I felt that familiar revulsion, but I was stuck in place.
As I observed the roach work its way to safety, I became fascinated by its behavior. It knew what to do and how to survive.
I realized in the storm that the roach moved forward to live. That was the sign I needed.
I, too, had to move on and flee the corporate storm that was destroying my spirit and future.
I still am squeamish when I see a cockroach but am grateful for the lesson it taught me that day when I needed to escape the murky turmoil around me and regain my footing on solid ground.
Sometimes life lessons come from the last place we would look for them.
Copyright © Erana Leiken, 2011 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
power of nature by nespresso
steps1 by vasantdave