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Paperclips and Power Naps
Years ago, I worked for the government as a staff attorney. I trudged in and out every day with my lunch box in hand like a hamster on a sterile, metal wheel. It was solid, steady work, and I was grateful for it. But I wondered if I’d ever break out of my office with no windows to find personal fulfillment, or if I was destined to always write lengthy reports with seemingly no significance.
When I became pregnant with my daughter, fatigue melted me into the cubical walls. This child within me was continually shifting and stretching and bursting with energy—so much so that it was sucking the life out of me just to keep itself afloat. I felt totally overwhelmed.
One day, twenty minutes before a conference call was set to begin, I was so tired that I popped my head outside my office and told my secretary I needed to lie down. I asked her to wake me up in fifteen minutes so I could be ready for the call. And right there on the stained grey carpet, surrounded by cracker crumbs and paperclips, I curled up on the floor. I absolutely could not stay awake for a moment longer, and my head fell effortlessly on my coat as a pillow.
As I woke and wiped my mouth of drool, arranging my skirt and dialing the conference number, I felt strangely revived, and not just because of the power nap. A smile began to radiate from my mouth, through the piles of reports and phone lines and across the miles of this government job. And it came to me: I was more than this place. I was not made of grey and used staples and conference calls. I had a life growing inside of me—a gift from God that was mine to hold and cuddle and love.
As I reached over to flick off a cracker crumb that had applied itself onto my coat from my dirty office floor, I didn't think of myself as just another government worker. I was a mother. And as I rose that afternoon, I felt God's blessings in my life despite my current circumstances. And no amount of boring phone calls could strip away that awareness. I work, and yet I live. I am sitting where I'm currently planted, and yet I know there is more than this to come.
I can’t remember what that conference call was about—probably someone from Washington who wanted to go over yet again the five basic tenants of a newly passed law. But I can remember the lightness of being as I left that day with my lunch box and purse in hand, skipping slightly despite my expanding waistline. There was so much yet to come. And it was making me dizzy with excitement.
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