There will be many moments in your lives where one event totally changes the course of your life. Rarely will you know when they occur- and it is often years later before you can pinpoint them. After a long, sad and drawn out week and election I realized one of those moments in my life, and thus yours.
In the summer of 2007 I was working for a Representative who, while a nice man, was done with state politics and about to resign his position. This of course, would have left me without a job. I was also dating a man, that again, while nice, was totally inappropriate for me. I made the decision to start looking for a new job out in the Florida panhandle (I was still in Orlando) that would allow me to be closer to him. I interviewed for a job with an agricultural organization that would have taken me completely out of politics- but back in an industry I love. Even after the interview and follow-up interview I was torn about the position- but knew that if it was offered it would be best for me personally and professionally. I remember, ironically enough, meeting your Dad at a Gainesville restaurant after my second interview and talking about the job. It was the week his divorce was slated to become final- so we talked a long time about that and the possibilities of the job. I left Gainesville that day knowing if they offered me the job I was going to take it.
The next day they did offer me the job- at a salary a little lower than I had expected so I told them I needed a day to think it over. I have no idea what I did that- I had never not taken a job that I wanted in the past. God must have been sending me a signal.
So, the next day I called the man back to accept the position, but he wasn't there and I just left a message asking him to call me back. 10 minutes later I received another phone call, this time from one of the men gearing up to run for my current boss' seat. We talked about his race, his future plans and while he understood why I was looking for a new job, he would really like it if I stayed where I was, helped with his campaign and his future aspirations. I didn't know him well, knew he was going to have a tough primary, wasn't sure if I would like working for him- but again, God must have sent me a signal. I decided to risk "a bird in the hand" for what could be. At that moment I went "all-in" for this man and candidate.
It was a long summer and a tough race. In the end he won his primary election by 72 votes and went on the win the general as well. Things ended between myself and the inappropriate boyfriend and when I went back to Tallahassee for that first committee week with my new member I ended up at a Christmas party at your Dad's house...I guess you could say the rest of that story is your history.
Fast forward to 2012- the elections on the state and national level are nasty and uncertain thanks to redistricting. The man I risked my career on has done well in his job and is slated to be Speaker of the House in 2014. Another long campaign that I am proud to be a part of. But now, instead of not knowing him and wondering if I want to work for him I consider him a friend. Someone I can turn to if I'm in trouble or need help- personally and professionally. While I had moved on into a new chapter in my career I still felt like I was part of the team. During the previous years I watched the media try to take him down time and time again- but he always persevered. So while it was a nasty campaign thanks to the newspaper I had no doubt he would win. The night of the election we were with your Dad's candidate and I had all of those Supervisor of Elections sites streaming- he was winning (and I admit I had my doubts on that one). I was watching other races that I was interested in with mixed results. But I wasn't watching my friend's- so I was shocked when I got the first text saying things weren't going well for him. The end result of that night, after recounts, is that he lost his seat.
I know that you felt my pain for him- for the last week whenever I have thought about him, our history, the election and my anger at how he was treated I felt you both move- or felt the contractions my feelings caused. Even as I sit here typing I'm feeling one. So I apologize for the undue stress that I put on you (but you're Spratts- so you have to be fairly hard headed and tough so I'm not too worried). But why I am writing this letter to you is more than an apology. It is a wish and a thank you.
I wish for you many moments in your life that may seem inconsequential to you at that time but have huge impacts on your life. I wish for them to be mostly positive, but I wish for you to experience some hardship too so you can know the value of good times. I wish for you friends that are worthy of you feeling heartache for them, worthy of you crying for their loss- even days or weeks after it happens. I wish for you relationships that inspire you to take risks with your personal life and your professional life and I wish for you the relationship with God that allows him to gently and often quietly point you in the direction to know who is worthy of those risks and who is not.
And I want to thank you Chris, my candidate turned boss turned true friend for that one call- timed perfectly- that changed the direction of my life. The call that brought me and Jim together and the call that allowed me have these babies that I can't wait to meet. And I wish for you one call that leads you to the amazing things I know God has in store for you.