Monday, August 26, 2013

in which i am inspired (again) by leslie knope.

It's August 26, and the light I was looking for at the end of this summer's long tunnel seems just out of reach. We are so close to signing the paperwork on the business -- the finish line I've waited all summer to reach.

And two weeks ago, after finally resolving some of the store's issues (issues that had prevented us from committing to the purchase in writing), Jordan came to me with a brand new dilemma: a job opportunity of his own. 

This entire summer has been about the business: staffing issues, legal ramifications, financial concerns. In truth, of course, that's the way it had to be. We simply couldn't enter into this commitment lightly. Owning a small business is a huge change for us, and we spent June, July, and August analyzing this dream of mine, wondering if it was worth the sacrifice and why. 

It's been a summer largely about me.

The Bookshelf is my dream, but -- as any small business owner knows -- it had to be Jordan's too. His support was paramount to making the leap from manager to owner. I knew without a doubt: I could never do this without his financial, emotional, and physical support. The Bookshelf has to be our business. Together. The two of us.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I realized Jordan's dreams had to be supported too. If I ask my husband for true partnership, I have to give him true partnership. 

Two weeks ago, he came home talking about a job opening, and I just wasn't mentally prepared. We were so close to signing, so close to the light -- a return to our calm, simple, lovely life. In my eyes, a job opportunity couldn't have come at a worse time.

But I took a deep breath and helped him prepare his resume. I said prayers and offered counsel, listened as he described his interview, offered comfort as he played the waiting game. 

I tried to be supportive, because he has so constantly supported me. 

Yet I had hesitations. How on earth could he possibly accept a new position right now? We are in the throes of business-running; I need his help and flexibility more than perhaps ever before. I shared my concerns, shed a few tears, and then today, I watched Leslie Knope win her 2012 campaign. 

Mondays are treasured days off, and I was in desperate need of something funny to watch. Enter Parks and Recreation. And right as I watched Leslie's dreams coming true, right as her campaign is coming to an end and her time as city councilwoman is about to begin, I remembered her boyfriend Ben was offered a job in D.C. 

Leslie is devastated. The timing is all wrong, and she's ready for normal. She wants the campaign to end and real life to begin. She tells Ben to turn down the job, and -- to his credit -- he agrees. 

And I guess that's how it would have played out -- Leslie with her dream, Ben settling for some job in Pawnee government -- if it weren't for the wisdom of Ron Swanson, king of reality checks. In just a few sentences, he reminds Leslie what being a friend is all about.

"We didn't volunteer to help you because we wanted to wrap ourselves in personal glory. We did it because we... care. About you. You had a dream, and we wanted to support your dream. That's what you do when you care about someone. You support them, win, lose, or draw."

Jordan got the job. (A shock to absolutely no one who knows him.) He got the job, and after a few lengthy conversations, we agreed he should take it. So he did. 

In two weeks, Jordan will start a new job as an assistant general counsel. I'll be owning a business. We'll officially have lost our minds.

But we'll also be doing what I think we've come to do best. We'll be supporting each other, encouraging each other, pushing each other toward new goals and aspirations, making things happen. 

A year ago, Jordan was the driving force behind my decision to leave my corporate job to manage The Bookshelf. Two months ago, he was encouraging me to take the steps needed to own the business together. 

This week, I'm happily returning the favor. I'm letting go of the light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm learning what it means to be a partner, a true support. 

I think Leslie would be proud.


Susu said...

I love you! No decision you and Jordan make is without a lot of prayer. I'm confident everything's going to be alright! As a matter of fact, I can't wait to see what God has planned! xxoo

Debbie said...

Loved this. I would've had the same knee-jerk reaction, and what you're doing is so selfless and plainly very cool.

PS Leslie and Ron for President

Ray Sherlock said...

Wonderful, your life like in many books has taken on a challenge and it seems to take every bit of your being to rise to that challenge and BAM! Twist time. God is a great story writer and you and Jordan get to star in one of His movies. Remember you are His masterpiece. Love conquers All.


Erin said...

That's one reason I love Parks & Rec. It is such a funny show, but it is also so full of truth.
Good luck to you both!

Leslie said...

!!! Sweet! Being supportive when you're not sure what a "yes" could bring can be so scary sometimes, so I totally understand what you mean. And - "We'll officially have lost our minds" - had me giggling over my morning coffee :). I kind of love that on-the-edge feeling, looking ahead towards new things that you know you can't handle without the Lord. Definitely sounds like y'all are *doing the work* - building a well-lived life, one made of courage and creativity and support for each other. Best to you, friend!

jenna said...

You are beautiful.
I adore you.
Your wisdom and insight from the SPIRIT inspires me.
Being able to share in your story encourages me to continue to be bold and brave in my own.

Just a few things I wanted to say. :)

Julie said...


I just found your blog through Fran's tweet about you, and...oh, man. It's so crazy to catch up on your story, because it's basically exactly what I want mine to be. (Well, close, anyway). I'm working at a corporate law firm, but I eat/sleep/breathe books, and kind of would like nothing more than to have a life that revolves around them instead. I'm so glad you've taken such impressive steps to have a life that matches your loves...and I'm inspired. :)


Rachael said...

This is exciting to read about! Also, great photo selection of Parks & Rec! You make it look classy.

Anonymous said...

Oh how I've been here friend, and you know what? Years later I'm able to look back and tell myself I made the right decision in supporting him because it always work out. It. Always. Works. Out. Just roll with the punches, keep laughing together, and trust God. You will be fine. : )

Laura said...

Wow. You are an inspiration Annie! I'm sure you and Jordan will figure things out. What an exciting time for you both! Congrats to both of you on pursuing and reaching your dreams.

francy said...

Thumbs Up!

You had me guessing right down to the 'in two weeks' - then giggled with delight. Good decisions there, I am just sure of it.

I wish I lived closer - I'd volunteer to come help.