- Inspired by the song “Come from the Heart” by Kathy Mattea
It was a new job; it was a new life. After a devastating loss that had been inflicted upon his family, he would start from the beginning. Jonathan’s wife and two small children had been killed in a car accident over three years ago. As Penelope and their two children were on a short road-trip, they were stuck by a bus.
His life and his love had been taken with his family. He now immersed himself into a great depression that embodied his life. Morning upon morning, he awoke past noon to an endless cup of coffee and a barrage of cigarettes. The process of awaking was tortuous and plagued with fear. Showing up late to work time after time, he lost his job. Soon after he lost his job, he lost his house and was left living in a halfway house wallowing in his own self-pity with no solace to be found. The depression left him cold and aloof of senses.
In the halfway house, he did not have to worry about work or food being put on the table. His welfare check supplied the money he would need for coffee and cigarettes. His complete lack of ambition was pronounced by the pain that had turned to numbness.
Awakening every afternoon, he would shave, brush his teeth, shower, and eat breakfast. Although the routine marked the bare minimum of existence, he painstakingly managed it not to succumb completely to self-degeneration.
Each afternoon he slowly arose to his breakfast, he could manage little more than an endless stream of coffee and cigarettes. He would oftentimes go back to sleep after a few hours to escape from the terrible pain the accident had inflicted. In the shadow of a life, he was now living completely bereft of hope. The normal chores of life represented to him an insurmountable burden.
After three years, he decided it was time to leave his misery behind him. He had graduated from college and had been working in the professional world for many years before the death of his family and the onslaught of his inescapable depression. A spark of ambition remained in his consciousness; now it was time to return to the world of the living.
One morning he awoke before noon. He looked outside and noticed the blue sky decorated with a collection of puffy white clouds. The grass was green and the music on the radio created in him a glimmer of courage. The next morning he awoke and enjoyed the miracle of the world around him. A third morning he awoke in hopeful ambition for what the new day would bring. There was something within the depths of his soul that demanded that he find something that would bring substance once again to his life.
Jonathan was able to rediscover the miracle of life.
It became habitual. He awoke every morning with a cup coffee which he enjoyed with a few cigarettes. It was the early spring; still two cool for the embattlement of the summer heat, but warm enough to bask in the warm chill. The sun came over the horizon very slowly. The clouds sporadically placed about the sky echoed the love he felt in his heart. He looked upon the grass and the trees admiring the distinct dark shades of green shared by both. The sky which lay above him was a pristine shade of blue. The love in his heart brought with it the zest for a miracle of a new day. It was his cheerful labor to discover what he may, and to re-create for himself, his life of yesterday.
A year had past; he now sat in an office at an accounting firm awaiting an interview where he would offer himself as an intern. He knew his three years of absence from work would not be looked upon favorably; however, he would not to be overwhelmed by the prospect. Closing his eyes with a silent prayer, he beckoned the beauty of life to embrace him as he faced this new venture with confidence.
The interview was short. Although he had been out of work for more than three years, his résumé would allow him for a trial run as an intern before he would become completely submerged into the professional world.
“This interview is basically a formality,” his employer began. “However, it was a decorum I chose not to overlook. First of all, I can see by your résumé that you graduated from San Diego State University with honors. As an intern, you are more than qualified. However, may I ask why you have been out of work for the past three years?”
Jonathan did not indicate the tragedy that had been inflicted upon his family in the recent past to his prospective employer. It was not the kind of information that he would put on his résumé. However, it was now the time and place to share the news in an attempt to explain his hiatus.
Jonathan began “I hate to bring this up. I am not looking to share with you my misery and I am not trying to appeal to your sympathy, but a horrible accident occurred in my family. Over three years ago, my wife and two children were killed in a car accident. After that, I faced a terrible depression that took control of my life. I was slow to recover, but I decided it was now time to continue living my life.”
Jonathan’s new employer, Michael, chose not to comment any further about the absence from work. He did feel sympathy for Jonathan, but decided not to rehash the painful memories.
After a few more questions, the interview ended. His employer was very much impressed with Jonathan, his résumé, and his credentials. He stated to Jonathan, “Considering your qualifications and the horrible ordeal you faced with the accident that happened to your family, I would be glad to have you come work for us. I know you only applied for a volunteer position; however, I can guarantee you now that you will be a full-time, fully-paid employee after a short two week trial period.”
His new employer reached across the table to shake Jonathan’s hand. “Can you start next Monday?”
Jonathan left the building with the happy knowledge of a successful job interview. He returned back to the halfway house before starting work the following Monday.
The cool spring breeze invigorated his senses. He drove home in his Toyota Cressida; the only possession remaining after his plague of depression stole from him everything else.
The smile on his face reflected his sheer enjoyment and love for life as he faced the excitement that tomorrow might bring.
“I will close my eyes and let life bring to me what it does,” he said to himself in a self-affirming manner.
That following Monday he showed up at work. The warmth in his heart was reflected upon everyone that he met. A blonde woman, one not typically considered beautiful, flashed a smile in his direction. Without fear or trepidation he smiled back. They introduced each other and he, in a manner of shear contentment, had no further concern about where or where it may not lead. After the brief encounter he was introduced to the rest of office. He would tackle a pile of balance sheets, income statements, and other documents of company record. With the education he had received in college and his years of work history, it was an endeavor beneath his level of expertise. Yet, he underwent the hard day of labor with the love of life that brought joy to everything. He returned back to his halfway house at the end of the day.
As the sun set the moon crept over the horizon. The disillusionment and disenchantment for life had led him, now, to marvel for all that life could bring.
Life is a thing of wonder. It is not a barrage of obstacles that we must repeatedly face hindering our senses. Challenges are mere adventures. The excitement for each new day brings with it hope. The miracles of life should not be overlooked, rather they should be embraced. A smile upon living brings with it happiness. Love encompasses itself into joy and brings passion for all that life brings.
With this knowledge, Jonathan smiled as the sun rose over the horizon the next morning. The pain was a thing of the past and love, peace, and joy were all that that could now be found.