He put on an ironed shirt this morning, nice slacks, belt, and shoes. He kissed me goodbye and said, “Have a good day” just like he did yesterday and everyday last week and nearly every morning for the last 15 years of our marriage.
But, today was different. There was a spring in his step and an extra spark in his kiss because today was not like yesterday or the days before. Yesterday, he quit.
When he told his boss he was leaving, his boss wanted to play the game, give him a counter offer, encourage him to stay. When Mark told him he wasn’t headed over to a competitor but leaving the financial industry entirely, I think he left him a bit dumbfounded.
Leaving the industry. The one he’s worked in for 18 years.
Mark explained the work, his role specifically, how he’s been called to it. He told him how he’s been raising support so that we could do this. We thought he’d think we were crazy. Instead, he told Mark he was jealous; Mark will be doing something his heart is full in. It’s what everyone wants deep down, above wealth, benefits, prestige and all that comes with all three of those. Everyone wants to do something they love; maybe life too often gets in the way.
Just like that, Mark left that conference room, and everything was different. We knew his days there were numbered, but we didn’t know that number until now. He had imagined what that conversation would be like, played it over in his head. Now, the imagined is simply history, a day that we’ll remember that marks when we put a stake in the ground and said, “This is where we are meant to go, and we’re going.”
He’ll end well over the next two weeks, still putting on an ironed shirt and slacks and kissing me goodbye each morning, making sure things that need to be covered are covered, putting closure on all he can. But, at the end of those two weeks, he’ll close up a cardboard box with the few personal affects that made a sterile desk and chair his workplace, and he’ll drive home one last time for us to start a whole new part of our lives, one He’s been preparing us for all along.