Friday, September 24, 2010

Deus ex Machina

Sometimes, when we ask for a higher power to step into our life, like a life preserver tossed from stage left, we're left to tread water. Sometimes, no matter how much we ask, that little orange flotation device never appears and we're left to drown. And then sometimes, just when we've given in and stopped asking, like a god out of the machine, a submarine surfaces beneath us, just as we were going under for the last time.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, deus ex machina, it's latin for "god out of the machine." Horace first mentions it as a plot device poets (writers) should avoid. It is where an apparently unavoidable situation is resolved with an unexpected contrivance of some sort. One might consider Harry Potter pulling Godric Gryffindor's sword from the sorting hat to slay the basilisk in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets a deus ex machina. Though the story supports that particular use, it's still a bit of a stretch.

Well, now that we've cleared that up, back to my point. It's been a bit of a tumultuous year for my little family. My wife started working again in February after a six month unemployment streak (which had been preceded by an 8-month stretch the previous year). In January, my position became somewhat uncertain and in June became very uncertain following the revelation that I would have to reapply for my job...oh, and it was relocating to Philadelphia. At that time, I tried to cling to the small glimmer of hope that things would work out. But, not wanting to be disappointed, I allowed myself to imagine the worst. "Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future," ~Yoda.

Fast forward a couple of months and we seem to have had our own little deus ex machina moment. Not only are my wife and I both steadily working, but we've both received promotions. She recently received offers from not one, but three great companies. To her, it's been an unreal change of events. To me, it's a huge relief. To me, it returns a little more balance to the worry scale. "Everything works out in the end" is a favorite saying in my family, and though I've repeated it often myself, I also find it to be a bit shallow sometimes. Yes...everything does eventually work out. But, it doesn't always end up smelling like roses. Nor should we expect it to. This is life, after all.

Now, as I try and look forward a bit, I see that we're moving 7 days from today...a huge step for us. I see the start of new jobs and a new life in a new town. I see the potential for me to have more time to write and a generally more relaxed life style. I also see a slew of new stresses and worries taking over old ones, but no shocker there. I don't think there'll ever be a time where I don't worry. Someone once asked me, "What'll you do if you get published?" I said, "Worry about being able to do it again." ;)

So, for the moment, we get a chance to breath…a luxury I shall not take for granted. Here’s hoping that, if you’re one of the countless folks struggling out there, that persistent efforts pay off and you have your own little deus ex machina moment. Let’s just hope it doesn’t involve a submarine or a basilisk.

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