Tuesday was a big day for me. Calendar arrival day. Each year, our company makes calendars for its employees and customers, and employees submit pictures for it. Secret admission… I want to make it. I think there is a deep part of me that wants to create something artistic that others find beautiful. When I listen to some music I imagine how I’d make the music video, or how I would create the live presentation of it on stage, or I simply imagine what it would feel like to create this music, and how it must feel to give this art to the world. My imagination, while creative in its own way, is still rooted in the reality that I do not possess that ability. Instead of imagining myself in the studio coming up with a new song, I can only picture myself in some alternate reality where R.E.M. does not exist and I get to give the world “Losing My Religion” like it was given to me in a vision. So I know that creating great art is probably beyond my abilities, but I set my goals low. A picture in the company calendar is not radio play, but it’s a goal of mine, something that I’ve put out there.
I’ve been with the company for 7 years, and have submitted pictures for the last 6 years. The last 5 years I’ve been denied. This year I was determined, and put up a bunch of pictures on Facebook asking for help. A little crowd sourcing to help make my selections. I submitted the pictures on the last day. Checking the pictures that were already submitted, there were about 30 pictures from our local site. You could submit up to 3, so assuming that the average was two, I was competing against 15 others locally.
When the calendars came in, we received an email that 5 people from our local site had a picture in the calendar. A 33% chance. Not too shabby. I read the list….
My name is not there. I close the email. I stew a little, and it’s back to work. Later that afternoon, we receive another email. They’ve missed two names, it’s actually 7 locally, a near 50% chance for me….
I don’t know, maybe they just went another way. Maybe they weren’t looking for what I submitted. I was told by friends they were good….wait, am I the Sanjaya of calendar pictures? Have people told me that they are good all this time, but haven’t had the heart to tell me otherwise? (In case you didn’t know, Sanjaya was a contestant on American Idol a few years ago that was really bad.)
Regardless, now I’m down for the count. Steph comes home to find me on the couch and can see in my face that I’ve taken one too many punches that day. Quinton, God bless his heart, is laying next to me in the same manner that he does on days when we’re sick. He just knows the days when you need comfort, and he puts off play for a day.
Morning comes, and I’m normal again. But am I? I’m sitting at my desk, and I’m having trouble focusing. I’m quick to frustration, and at a couple times on the verge of tears for no logical reason. Is it related? I develop a headache and head for another night on the couch.
I don’t know if the second was related to the first. It’s possible that I was mildly sick, which caused the headache, which led to the frustration and emotional instability. It made me think. Lately, Steph and I have begun to diverge on the adoption likelihood scale, with me climbing higher, and her drifting downward. Normally I’d think that I’m better off, but maybe not. She’s prepared for disappointment, I’m not. I’m crushed when I miss out on a silly calendar that most people toss out. What happens if I miss out on something that will really change my life?
Hope is a roller coaster. In life, I ride the kiddie coasters, while the highs are not that high, I don’t feel like throwing up in the lows. What caught me off guard with the calendar was that I had no idea how much I had hoped for it. It reminds me of the time I got on a roller coaster in KC, as we were going up the first hill, they stopped us halfway so they could add another set of seats. 20 minutes stuck halfway up the hill, wondering if I’ll get to enjoy the ride. I surprised myself with calendar hope, how much of a punch would adoption hope be?
“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” – Andy Dufresne
I will submit three new pictures next year. And the year after that. I’m not going to let the years of failure keep me from hoping for the best (after all, I am a Vikings fan). More importantly, I’ll keep my hopes and expectations high for December. Bringing her home will be the beautiful thing I give to this world. To hope in something so beautiful is life itself.