renewal the word renew on signs one letter per sign in different colors with fall season trees in the back ground
Learning the Hard Way


Last week was important.  All days are important and should be lived to the fullest but last week was my fifth attempt at a very important test in my full-time career.  I scheduled it for Thursday morning and that afternoon I was leaving for a semi-relaxing weekend to the beach with a friend to visit her parents who have health issues.  We both needed to get away.   Both needing to be renewed, we had no idea how badly we needed it.

The test is the bane of my existence.  It is a national certification test that somewhat impacts my career.  It is a questionable test in my profession, doubted by many based on its structure but also relied upon by many to judge skill and monetary worth.  For reasons too complicated to go into this test has split the profession.  It is hard to study for and difficult when you can not pass it.  I have been struggling with it for four years.  I left the test on Thursday sure I have failed it again.  The results take about 90 days to come back so there is still hope, but I feel like I did not pass it.

I felt angry and disappointed when I left but hurried home to meet my friend and get to the airport.  Deep breaths and leaving it up to the people that score the test, I had done everything I could do.

The weekend was much needed.  A day on the beach was cheap therapy that I had not had in about four years.  But the other part of the weekend was tough.  Watching my friend deal with her parents and their health and their dynamics was tough.  This wasn’t her being renewed.  This was her managing her parents and making sure they were ok in various ways.  Much different than my situation, she handled these complicated twists and turns with grace.  Managing health issues, time constraints, disability issues, and seeing your parents in a frail state could not have been easy.  All of this while having a good time with me and them.

Reflecting on the weekend (or obsessing as I do) I found perspective.  The test will always be an issue for me.  I love my job and I am good at it.  While I am not at the top in my field, I am a good interpreter and work hard to make sure I continue to be.  The test is important, however, so is health and family.  There will always be things that stop us.  Sometimes we will feel crippled by what we face.  We must move forward and be the best we can be.  We must be forgiving of ourselves and others, and thankful for the blessings we have.

I hope the feelings of this weekend stay with me for a long time.  I hope I am often reminded of what is important and I hope I am forever able to prioritize the things in my life that need my attention.  Being renewed is an important step for staying focused and not feeling weighed down all the time.

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