George was in despair. At the ripe old age of 40 he felt his life was a failure. He had failed to succeed at pretty much everything during his teenage years, unless you count hanging out with his friends in the parking lot and chasing the girls.
His high school sweetheart had become his wife while they were still very young. Years of struggling to make ends meet had left their mark—on his face lined with worry, on his nearly depleted bank account, and on the pile of unpaid bills getting larger every day.
In complete despair George retired to his room on Christmas Eve night. Christmas day would be a meager one that year. He avoided his wife and children’s eyes as he climbed the stairs to his room.
As he pulled off his work boots he pondered how to break the news of the layoff to his wife. After years of struggling, at least he had always held a job. But the contractor he worked for just announced that he was going out of business after payment problems with their last account. It wasn’t his boss’ fault that their client’s business had suddenly gone under leaving the job unpaid, but it affected the entire team. After nearly 20 years together, all of them were in despair as to what to do next.
He hadn’t yet told his wife. “Why spoil Christmas?” he thought. “I’ll tell her after the holidays.”
Slipping into bed he lay pondering his options. He didn’t know of any other contractors that were hiring. All of the ones he knew were struggling for work themselves. He wasn’t trained in anything else. School wasn’t an option. He had a high school diploma, but school just wasn’t his “thing”. “Can’t teach an old dog new tricks” was his motto.
He drifted off to sleep while fighting off the dark thoughts that maybe it was time to end the pain.
As he slept he dreamt. As he dreamt, a beautiful being of light appeared to him. She was so peaceful that everything around him and everything about him felt light and peaceful in a way he had never felt. He asked the being what her name was. “Hope” she replied.
“I’m here to show you some options for your life” she told him.
“Options? George exclaimed “I don’t have any of those!”
“George, I want you to think for a moment. What is it you really want to do with your life? What are your hopes, your dreams; your visions for what you can become?”
Normally George would have laughed that question off. His dreams were unreachable, unattainable, and completely unrealistic. But in the presence of such a glorious being, anything seemed possible in that moment.
He had never told anyone, but he had always secretly wanted to be an elementary school teacher. He liked kids, and especially liked that age group. He enjoyed his own children; teasing them and joking with them were his specialty. Telling this to the angel, he felt himself whisked away. He found himself suddenly standing in a classroom. Looking around the room, he saw himself in a desk chair in this classroom listening to the professor, asking questions, and enjoying the lecture.
But Angel, how is it possible? I have such a hard time learning. I don’t remember anything. I’m too old to go back to school…” The Angel cut him off mid excuse with a wave of her hand.
“Oh, but George, you don’t know the marvels of technology! Let me show you!” The Angel then demonstrated how all George had to do was to push the record button on the software loaded onto his laptop, take a few notes, and then later on he could go back and listen to the parts he needed to review quickly and instantly.
“Amazing!” George’s jaw was on the floor. He had given up on ever being able to learn in a classroom setting again. He had always thought of himself as a dummy. He was surprised to see himself actually sitting in a classroom enjoying himself. He had never enjoyed schooling before. “Hmmmm.” He thought. “I wonder.”
George found the light around him fading as the Angel started to depart. “But Angel wait! How is it all possible?”
“Talk to your community college after Christmas, George. You will find people there who will help you enroll in the new semester and can help get you student loans.”
“But Angel! What is the name of that software?” George called out to her as she faded from view.
“PerfectNotes.” were the last words on her lips as she disappeared.
George slept well that night dreaming of all of the possibilities. It would be a good Christmas this year. He could make a new start in life and finally pursue the dreams he had always left undreamt.