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In an instant, my world collapsed. It wasn’t just the absence of planes in the sky or the way people wandered around blank and numb. By then, I’d turned off the news, not wanting my young children to be more frightened than they already were. Like most, I did what I had to do to get through the days. I even bought a flag and hung it on my porch — solidarity with my country, grief for what had been lost. I went to work, interacted with a new boss I couldn’t stand, and did my job. Until, that is, I didn’t have one. 9/11 had destroyed the economy and crushed the annual fundraiser our small non-profit depended upon. As fast as the planes had hit the buildings, and with the same shock of disbelief and terror, I was unemployed.

I was a single mom, raising my three children alone. There was little in the way of child support, only a pittance in my savings account, and a new mortgage I couldn’t afford. Everything in me froze. Where would I find a job? How would I care for my kids? Through long and sleepless nights, I stared at the ceiling, my heart racing. Then as winter crept up frost covered windows, something in me started to thaw. Could my layoff have been a gift? Was there a message in all of this?

I had been an artist for years, wrestling my clay and wax at night and on weekends when my children were sleeping or occupied. I had placed a few pieces in local galleries and even sold some, but never enough to let me quit my proverbial day job. Making art was the only thing I never gave up on, the only thing that offered my hard life a measure of relief. In those cold days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, while I worried how to keep the heat on, a voice kept whispering, “Now or never, girl. It’s now or never.”

I am blogging today at Gutsy Living. Click to read the rest of my story and thanks to Sonia Marsh for having me.