Saturday was my last shift at Starbucks. It was also the morning after a particularly nasty storm, so it took me ten minutes to dig my car out from under piles of ice, and another ten to get it to back out of the driveway. Somehow, in the process, I also managed to kill the motor on the car's heater, probably by turning it on when the intake was blocked. So, no heat on the way to work on the coldest morning of the year. Oops.
But, Saturday ended up being a surprisingly good shift at work. Once the sun came up, business picked up, and we kept a pretty steady pace all day. I said goodbye to some of my regular customers, and simply served others with my usual smile, not wanting to disrupt their day with a sappy goodbye. Then, it was time for me to leave, and I dropped my keys in the safe, and went home, and cried for half an hour.
I've never been good at goodbyes. When I was in college, I used to hide at the end of the semester when everyone was packing up their stuff. And then, when the next semester started, and people would say things to me like, "I never saw you to say goodbye at the end of last semester!" I would feign innocence, and act like it was all an unfortunate accident. So I guess I've gotten a little bit better at saying goodbye, or I would have just hidden it from everyone. But still, there are several people who have been a regular part of my life, and I theirs, for the past year, whom I will probably never see again, and I never really made the effort to say a proper goodbye. In a way, it was easier with my coworkers, because I know I will see them when I visit, and many of them are already programmed into my cell phone so we can hang out later. And we will. But making someone's latte for them is a connection, too, as is knowing their drink and having it ready for them by the time they reach the counter. And it's hundreds of those random connections that I am losing as I leave my store.
It's more than that, too. Those of you who know me well know how much of a beating my self-esteem took in my first year out of law school. Starbucks was the first proper job I had after that, and I couldn't have been working at a better place to heal my shattered ego. I was constantly encouraged and supported, and my efforts to clean things, organize things, and improve things were acknowledged and (mostly) appreciated. I genuinely enjoyed my job, and I was good at my job. It's hard to let something like that go, even when you know, deep down, that it can't last forever.
Saturday night, I spent with friends, and I was glad for the distraction. Rachel cooked a fantastic Irish meal, and we ate and talked for hours, enjoying each others' company. I was, perhaps, slightly less than my usual bubbly self, but no one condemned me when I waxed quiet or broody on occasion. My mom pointed out to me the last time we talked that, as hard as it has been for me this past year, it's been bearable because of my friends. And she's right. I don't like to brag, but there are worse things to be proud of. I really do have awesome friends.
And an awesome church. Sunday morning, I went to church early, although I didn't really know why. When I got there, I discovered that the worship team was short a voice, and that they would be doing a few drummy songs, so I jumped in for the pre-service worship time, and was blessed to be a part of it. Then, after church, our "faith in action" event was bringing meals to some of the housebound members of the church. We split up into five groups, and went five different ways, and I opted to not accompany the group that was going to have lunch with my husband, since I see him all the time, and instead spent a fantastic lunch with two absolutely wonderful older ladies who grew up in my church when it was huge and thriving.
And, in case my heart was not already full, one of my friends from church invited me over for a tea party on Sunday afternoon. Tea, and scones, and female conversation (to be honest, not a regular occurrence in my life) filled the rest of my afternoon. I felt a little disconnected at first, as everyone else talked about topics that they had all obviously discussed before. I wondered why I had gone, and what had made me think I would have anything to talk to a group of women about. But they gradually drew me in, and I found myself opening up, and really enjoying the connection.
I haven't talked about my faith a whole lot on my blog lately, but don't feel bad: it's not you, it's me. I haven't really talked about my faith to anyone lately. But I think about it, a lot. I've found myself questioning assumptions I have held for basically my entire life, and while I haven't necessarily rejected anything, I have stripped my beliefs down, layer by layer like an onion, in an attempt to figure out what lies beneath it all. And I am so far from any kinds of conclusions, I don't dare even try to blog about it. Because even stripped down, I still have an ironic security in some of the things that I believe, but I lack the clarity to make any kind of coherent argument about how or why.
But somehow, girl talk dragged some of that out of me, and while I didn't leave with any new answers, I did leave feeling purged of some of the murkiness. And I am grateful to my church girlfriends, and hope that I will remember that and make more efforts to seek out their company more often.
Full, and fuller, I looked at the clock and decided that I still had time to swing by Starbucks and see an ex-coworker of mine who had moved to Boston last summer but was in town this week for Spring break. He was going to be playing an impromptu show at my store, and I wanted to see him. Unfortunately, I was too late for the show, but I got to chat with several people I hadn't seen in a while, and it was really nice catching up. It was also nice to be able to tell new people about my new job, because it allowed me to get back into the mindset that I had been in two weeks prior, when I was so excited about the new job, and felt like everything was looking up. Two weeks of thinking too much had dampened my enthusiasm, and it was refreshing to feel enthusiastic again.
And that, in an extremely verbose and hyper-introspective way, brings us to today: my first day at the new job. Which I won't really be talking about. How anti-climactic. But, I think that my "don't blog about your job" policy is a pretty good one, and I will continue to respect it for the time being.
Because frankly, even if I wanted to talk about my first day at my new job, I'm not sure I could. I'm such a backlog of thoughts and emotions right now, I feel like it will be months before my brain catches up with my life. Even as I type and retype perpetually inadequate endings to this post, I keep coming up empty-handed for a conclusion. I guess there is no conclusion.