This was my second year attending SWPJC, and while it was different from last year and even different from what I had expected this year would be, I am so glad that I went. I initially anticipated spending the weekend with my dear friend Esther and hearing a photojournalism great, James Nachtwey, present some of his work and talk about his career. However, Esther took a last minute assignment with Charity Water in the Central African Republic, and Nachtwey was assigned to cover the conflict in Gaza. While these were both very disappointing changes, I knew that there would still be priceless networking, relationship building, and industry discussion going on.
Toward the end of the weekend, two friends and I were discussing what each of us was walking away from the conference with this year. I couldn't say that I had learned any new skills or heard anything mind-blowingly new. What I took away from the conference was a renewed faith in the work that we as journalists are pursuing regardless of whether we are industry employed or not, and much needed face-to-face time with like-minded friends who's passion and faith are inspiring and refreshing.
I am the first to point out my number one character flaw... I'm a total control freak. Honestly, read my last blog. It's never enough for me to know that things will always work out as they were intended to, which they always do, but I have an extremely difficult time slowing down and enjoying life. When I can't see any open doors, when I feel like all my hard work leads nowhere, I get overwhelmed and discouraged. This weekend I was able to step outside of my routine and gain some much needed perspective. Has God ever let me fall flat on my face and left me there alone? Not once. The problem is always me. Me not letting go, me not seeing the glass half full, me not accepting that my plans and my ways are not always what was designed.
For all my frustration with my career, I need to accept that one of my professional strengths is in administration, and I am blessed with the opportunity to be refining that strength in my current role. If I do everything within my power to get transferred to the Phoenix office and it simple doesn't work out, I am not meant to be there. If I have a desire to further my education so that I am more able to pursue the things I know I am called to do with my life, I have to trust that when I am walking down the path that is meant for me, opportunities will arise when the timing is right.
Call me silly, but anyone who dines with me very often knows I take my fortune cookies seriously! Yesterday my fortune cookie said, "You will make many changes before settling down happily." Even though Keegan cracked his cookie first, which technically voids my fortune, I brought it home and put it next to the one I got while back that says, "You have a charming way with words and should write a book."
I have no reason to not be happy. I have no reason to not feel fulfilled. I have no reason to not wake up and joyfully welcome whatever each day brings. I am blessed, and I am loved, and that should be more than enough.