CREDOS: Authentic life — I

Like the damaged stone from which Michelangelo’s David was carved, Susan beheld what she considered to be her ruined life and the empty years that lay ahead of her. For the past sixteen years, she had been a hard-working single mother, juggling a demanding career and taking care of her daughter without any help from the child’s chronically absent father. To make her life more challenging, Susan was ambitious for herself and her daughter, and over the years pushed herself to keep more and more balls in the air. Every year, she would take on more work, more community service, more professional development classes, while tutoring her daughter at home after work and making sure she knew what was going on at school. Susan’s busy schedule took a toll.

Susan worked as a legal assistant for a major law firm. Her daughter, “the flower from my compost heap of a marriage” as she put it, had recently left for college on an academic scholarship. With her daughter launched, Susan was left to consider her own path. She looked down at the ground. “Dull cement,” she said, “and my feet were planted in it long before I had a chance to choose.”

Susan was dying for a change. But wasn’t it too late already? After all, she was nearly forty-two. Susan couldn’t think. She believed that she had no choices. Here was a bright, articulate, capable woman who, in her own mind, could never do anything right and believed she had missed her chance anyway. —