Ahh, the 90s. Such great times. From VH1's Pop-Up Videos to Saved By the Bell to Steve Urkel and his beloved cheese. I always wondered if he loved cheese more than he loved Laura Winslow. And what about Myra? And science? And Carl "Big Guy" Winslow? And. Oh. Sorry, I got distracted. Some say the 90s were the last great decade. I think I agree with them, but we'll cover the 90s some other time. One last thing about that great decade though. Remember the hip-hop group Arrested Development? They had a few hit songs. Most notably, the song Tennessee. It was from their album 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of... An interesting title. Of course, it has significance. It's how long it took them to get a record deal. The length of time it took them to transition from being virtually unknown to superstardom! Sadly, as with many bands, Arrested Development broke up due to... You guessed it. Creative differences. A short, but fun-filled ride it was! It took them a few years, but they made it! This is the part where you envision Arthur "Cody" Jarrett, played by James Cagney in the film noir White Heat delivering those famous last words as he's perched atop of round, gigantic gas tanks. "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!". As usual, I hear you. "Eric, what are you talking about?" Stay with me. I'm going somewhere. Arrested Development transitioned. In his own unique way, so did Cody Jarrett. Now, I'm transitioning. No, literally. I'm headed into the next, best phase in my life. I reckon I always was. See, I was never satisfied with where I was or what I was doing. I'd gone to college and majored in Business and Economics and made a pretty decent career for myself over the years, but it wasn't enough. Something was missing.
Still, I pressed on like Lee Nails. I worked my way into management and had my eyes keenly set on the corner office with the mahogany desk, bookshelf, and plush leather chair. When I made it there, this lil' boy from Akron, Ohio was going to be all set! One problem. I never made it to the corner office. Why? That story will come out over the course of many posts, because it's multi-layered and was quite the journey. Back to the point. After doing all that I needed to do there, I left my previous employer, BISYS Fund Services, and headed to work for JPMorgan Chase (JPMC). It was a promotion, a better opportunity, and you guessed it. An increase in salary! Hey, my Mama ain't raise no fools! My journey to the corner office was reborn! Or so I thought. But alas, it was not meant to be. And that brings me to today. This moment. There were ups and downs and ins and outs while I was there. Frustrations. Joys. Happy times. Sadness. Anger. Smiles. Laughter. All the time I was there, I couldn't wait to get out of there! I even wrote a poem about it called, "Death March to Freedom". It was about the day that I'd leave there and how much they'd realize what they'd lost. I'd walk out and not miss a thing about that place! There! Take that! But now that it's here and it's happening? I find myself getting sad. No, not because of the folk I'm leaving. The relationships that need to continue will continue. I just NEVER thought I'd miss that place! Ever! Did I say never?! Ok, sorry. I was having a moment. As I contemplated the cause of my sadness, it hit me. Much of the growing that I've done over the time that I was there was critical and crucial to where I am now and where I'm heading. It was and continues to be an integral part of my story. Boy, I didn't see that coming! Hit me like a freight train! But you see, it's because of the pruning, pressing places, and growth process that occurred during my time at BISYS and even more so at JPMC, that I'm finally able to walk away. I had to get to a point where I would allow--yes, allow--God to do the work in and on me that He knew needed to be done. I had to get to the point where I was Sweetly Broken. Where I was finally willing to put it ALL In His Hands.
It's only then that we begin to live life wide open. It was only then, only now, where I've been able to hear His voice calling me. Clearly. Gently. No mistaking it. No confusion. It's only now that I know that my gifts and talents will be used for more than a cheap pop. For more than a brief mountaintop moment. I've always known there was more in me, but I wasn't always quite sure that it'd get the opportunity to come out. I can tell you this much. There's no way it should have come out before now. If so, it would have been a mess. A complete one. Utterly and totally. See, if you know me well, you know that I can be a tough nut to crack and God had to refine me. I had to go through the Refiner's Fire (Note: Please be patient with me. I’m still being refined. Always will be.). Not the most pleasant experience in my life. Tears. Lots of 'em. Brokenness. Lots of it. Healing. Lots of it too. If you've ever been in that fire or you're in it now, can I get an Amen?! 'Cause it ain't no joke! It's so rough, I had to use a double negative just now. Did ya catch that? Sorry, I got distracted again. Ok, I'm back on course. See y'all, the Lord is willing to heal those broken places, but we've got to be willing to give them to Him. ALL of it. In totality. "But Eric, you don't know what happened! It hurts!" You're right. I don't know what happened. I don't know exactly how badly it hurts. What I do know is that if you surrender that stuff, those things, them folk, what happened, and what they said or did. If you give it to the Healer, He'll see to it that love will have the final word.
How do I know? Because it's having the final word as I transition. I finally received permission to leave JPMC and do what He's called me to do and be all that He's called me to be. What's that, you ask? Stay tuned. For now, know this. It came as a bit of a shock to me. I was hoping to be able to throw out a fleece like Gideon. Nope. Am I scared? No. Was I a little afraid at some point? Yes. I can hear you again. "Wow, Eric! You're super-brave!" No, I'm not. I'm just a man who knows the voice of his Shepherd. A man who knows it's his time. A man who trusts God. A man who won't be looking back and wishing that he'd gotten in the car. So, as I transition, I want you to do the same thing. That is, I want you to... No, you need to take some shots! Take some risks! Yes, you'll be challenged, but know that you can count on God's presence. If He's told you to go, then GO! Go with courage! Is it risky? Yep. You'll likely never have complete assurance, but if you did, would that be faith? So, ask, seek, and knock. Find out what you can. Warning! He's not going to tell you everything. At some point, you'll just have to trust Him. I've reached that point and I know it's my time to transition and Get In the Car.