I'm frequently reminded of how hazy and circuitous the path ahead can be, regardless of our efforts to map our journey in advance.
Tonight, I read some very kind words that Whitney posted about me in her blog, and I noted that she still remembered clearly her mornings spent in my classroom in my last year or so of teaching, before unseen twists led me to a non-teaching path. Those mornings are as vivid in my mind as they apparently were in Whitney's; I was pleased to get to know this soft-spoken young girl with a skill for writing, and I enjoyed reading her work and talking to her in those pre-school minutes when the day was just unfolding. I remembered Whitney so well, in fact, that she immediately came to mind a couple of years ago when we were looking for new employees. I never foresaw that the amiable, insightful young woman in my classroom would eventually become a co-worker and a friend.
Whitney became an employee because of another unforeseen change: Brett's departure from the store. I had always assumed that Brett would stay with the store and eventually move into an ownership role; in the summer of 2005, though, it appeared that his path would take him in a very different direction. As he prepared to move in a different direction, we looked for employees to help fill the void--and we were lucky enough to add Whitney, Jared, Amy, and Brian to our ranks. I knew Whitney and Jared already (Jared had shopped with Dr. No's for years before joining the staff); Amy and Brian were relatively new to me, but getting to know them was an unexpected positive that came out of the negative of Brett's departure.
Buck was a student long before he became an employee, and now the manager, of Dr. No's. I liked him as a student, but I never would have guessed that his future path would intersect with mine in the way that it has.
Then, of course, there's Brett's return to the store--something that neither he nor I foresaw in July of 2005 when he left. A path that veered away from mine and Dr. No's for a stretch reconnected further down the road, where we couldn't see its intersection at the time.
And of course, I've mentioned before my health problems, which ironically led to me restoring myself to a level of health and well-being unseen since I was in my teens. Had someone told me in April of 2000 that so much good would await me further down that rough path, I'd have dismissed their thoughts as simple attempts to cheer me up.
It's very easy to see how we got where we are... but sometimes where we're going us much less clear.