It wasn’t a surreal feeling or a sense of foreboding, but a feeling that I’d liken to a prescience of sorts. It seemed to be a lifetime ago, but I had gone through a restructuring at another corporate monolith before – interestingly enough all of the signs from that time were at this place and I tacitly acknowledged their existence.
And I waited.
When I got the call – or in 2020, when I got the news via the Skype conference call…
“That due to organizational changes, COVID-19 and etc; that my position was being eliminated.”
There wasn’t a sense of shock or sadness, but instead I was infused with a sense of resolve – as I realized at that moment:
I have never been in a situation – where I have haven’t been alright – where I haven’t been taken care of – that a door didn’t open to something greater.
While they were giving me the spiel about my value, how hard of a decision this was and the like, their words rang hollow as I plotted my next steps.
But out of the corner of my eye – a picture of my late Bigmama (Grandmother) and I beckoned – bringing a smile to my face.
I remembered the words that she gifted me with when I was my in the midst of my feelings during my aforementioned corporate downturn years prior.
We were conversing in her living room on a sunny Spring day and I asked her about the feelings of trepidation that she had – coming to Chicago during World War II, after my Grandfather was drafted into the conflict.
The Promised Land of the North offered opportunities where there were few in the South – as a young woman born in a small Alabama town, my Bigmama refused to abdicate her self respect to the blatant racism of the Jim Crow South – she became one of millions of African-Americans who changed the landscape of the United States during the Great Migration, she left and never looked back.
She leaned forward in the chair – and met my question with a glint of defiance in her eyes telling me:
“Shit… scared? Shit scared for what?! Nobody was going to help me sitting around crying and feeling sorry for myself… I was too busy to be scared!”
Those words that she spoke on that day, healed me up – because at that moment I was sitting around feeling sorry for myself.
And I haven’t been scared since – because she changed the trajectory of my life that day.
Against the backdrop of sudden unemployment and a Pandemic – I stand as the recipient of her fortitude.
And like my Bigmama…
“Shit, I’m too busy to be scared.”