by: Rebecca Taylor

“Keep up the good work, Shel,” said Jessie Jenkins, “with talent like yours, you could be climbing the ladder before you know it.”

“Thank you,” answered Shel Wright. Inwardly, she was happy that her boss had praised her but she wondered about the way that things worked up the ladder. Isn’t this what everyone wants? She thought, a chance at something more? A chance to make more money and do bigger things.

“That’s great, honey,” said Shel’s husband Ted, when she told him that night as they ate supper on their back porch. “I’m proud of you.”

“Thank you,” answered Shel, “but what happens if being higher on the ladder means harder deadlines, more working hours, things that I do not know how to do.”

“Do not stress yourself out about the unknown,” said Ted, “your boss told you that because she is happy with your work and thinks that somewhere down the road you will deserve a promotion, not because she wanted you to live in fear of getting one. When you first started this job, did you know everything that you would be doing?”

“No,” answered Shel, “I learned it along the way.”

“Exactly,” said Ted, “because you do not have to know everything and no one is planning on throwing you into the ocean where you cannot swim. It is simply that they see you as competent and smart. If you get a chance at a promotion, a real one, not a hypothetical one, then we can talk about it and see if you want to go for it. If and when the time comes, it will be up to you if you want to go higher in your career. “

“You always make me feel better,” said Shel.

“That goes two ways,” said Ted, “because you are always here when I need you too. Just think –  if we hadn’t decided to seek out the unknown when we were dating, we wouldn’t be here now.”

“You’re right,” said Shel, “just because we don’t know what the unknown will bring us, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t explore its possibilities.”

“Now you’ve got it,” said Ted reaching out and taking his wife’s hand and giving it a gentle squeeze. He could feel the tension that Shel had been holding onto release out into the universe and smiled at what the universe had given them so far.