I recently had one of the most seemingly disastrous job interviews I’ve ever been on in my life. When preping for an interview, there are some questions you expect will be asked one of which would be “What is your biggest weakness?” Of course the point is to come up with a weakness that is really a strength in disguise or a weakness that could be spun positively very easily.

I had my “weakness” at the ready so when one of the interviewers asked me to list my three biggest weaknesses, the only thing I could think was “three?!?” So I went with my usual answer, came up with another one on the spot, and when it came to the third not-so-weak-but-actually-a-good-quality “weakness” I went absolutely blank. And the pause that followed was long and painful. In fact, it was a puase so long and so painful that the other interviewer turns and tells me he has another question for me to answer until I could come up with my third “weakness.” I thought I had been relieved of the question that way but after I answered the interim question, they both stared at me and asked for my third “weakness.” And I was still drawing a blank.

In my best effort to salvage the moment all I could muster was, “Well, considering the situation, I’d say my third weakness would be that I can’t always think very quickly on my feet.”

Disaster.

I couldn’t wait to get out of there; the interview couldn’t end soon enough.

Imagine my surprise when two weeks later I got a call telling me that I’d gotten the job. It seems that my perceived absolute blunder demonstrated that I could take a bleak looking situation and make the best out of it. By using my inability to come up with an answer as my answer, I did think on the spot without even realizing it. But it seems my interviewers did.

This reitierated to me something a dear friend had briefly said to me before: It’s all about perspective. Point of view can make or break a moment, a day, a week, a year, a life. St. Paul in his epistle to the Thessalonians tells us to “Rejoice always.” It seems like a fairly difficult direction to follow because bad things happen. But the point is to rejoice during the bad and the good, to cultivate a spirit that does not waver in the face of the ups and the downs. To cultivate a spirit so solidly grounded in God that nothing but rejoicing and joy seems natural. And that’s one of the keys right there–the bad will lose all potency in the face of a joyful spirit and it will be transformed into all that is good simply because we are following His commandment.

Advertisements
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
       From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD,
       Who made heaven and earth.  

He will not allow your foot to be moved;
       He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
       Shall neither slumber nor sleep.  

The LORD is your keeper;
       The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
       Nor the moon by night.  

 The LORD shall preserve you from all evil;
       He shall preserve your soul.
 The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in
       From this time forth, and even forevermore.

- Psalm 121

*******

This is my favorite Psalm, so I thought I’d share it. It’s especially perfect for those “Is anybody out there? Can anybody hear me?” sort of days.

I am a woman with keys

Without a door

My wide angle perfect size

Still I pass through

And the space is made

To fit

 

My spaceship hands

This waterfall of feet

These ship-size eyes

A gun

The very air

It shapes me

Keys jingle

And fish fly protectively

Around my waist

 

I am a woman with keys

And all the doors are nailed

Dented shut with hammers

Unlikely to ever open on their own

But I am a key woman

I come jingling

And there is a ringing in my ear

That is not song

But how I enter

I am quilted down

With eyes and scale

This is jewelry on my belt

From the Living behind us

I enter        then I knock

 

I am a woman with keys

And this long middle sash of sorrow

Stays tightly tied

And is given to the yellow chicken wind

For whipping

Do you hear that jingle

As I go slow

I am a woman with keys

The mother-mother of memory

 

I come to go

As I please

You know I have been here

By the sound of locks

Swinging free

From Zanzibar to Daufuskie to alligator swamp

All along the ocean’s floor

There are attics

And storm cellars of hearts

Castanetting for a key

A Black cobblestone of family

Has never held its breath

 

Tell them I am on my way

 

I am a woman with keys

Unlocking the buildings

That now belong

To me 

 

-Nikky Finney

 

Currently listening to: “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman

Sometimes what we want to say has already been said by someone far more eloquent, so there is no point in attempting to rehash what has already been perfected. Today I offer you the last two sections of “Eurydice” by H.D instead of my own words.

VI

Against the black
I have more fervour
than you in all the splendour of that place,
against the blackness
and the stark grey
I have more light;

and the flowers,
if I should tell you,
you would turn from your own fit paths
toward hell,
turn again and glance back
and I would sink into a place even more terrible than this.

VII

At least I have the flowers of myself,
and my thoughts, no god
can take that;
I have the fervour of myself for a presence
and my own spirit for light;

and my spirit with its loss
knows this;
though small against the black,
small against the formless rocks,
hell must break before I am lost;

before I am lost,
hell must open like a red rose
for the dead to pass.

(If you’re interested in the whole text of the poem it can be found here: http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/webtexts/eurydice/)

now does our world descend
the path to nothingness
(cruel now cancels kind;
friends turn to enemies)
therefore lament,my dream
and don a doer’s doom

create is now contrive;
imagined,merely know
(freedom:what makes a slave)
therefore,my life,lie down
and more by most endure
all that you never were

hide,poor dishonoured mind
who thought yourself so wise;
and much could understand
concerning no and yes:
if they’ve become the same
it’s time you unbecame

where climbing was and bright
is darkness and to fall
(now wrong’s the only right
since brave are cowards all)
therefore despair,my heart
and die into the dirt

but from this endless end
of briefer each our bliss–
where seeing eyes go blind
(where lips forget to kiss)
where everything’s nothing
–arise,my soul;and sing

– e.e. cummings