March 2016: Falling Upwards

~by Paula Veloso Babadi

“…but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

I never thought it would happen to me. I knew it was common, but I thought I was safe, until the day our work team was advised that three of the five project managers under our beloved “boss” were being displaced. No one wanted to leave. Over the years we formed a tightly knit group of high performers focused on saving costs for the company, driven to excellence by the thought of making a difference, and encouraged by a leader with passion and a big heart.

God is so good though. He spared me in several ways; first by providing a fun respite, second by affording me a compassionate leader, and third but definitely not last, by showering me with his infinite mercy and love. A saving grace.

I was shielded from the initial jolt received by my team mates through escape on a magical, happy getaway before I got the news. Our team was scheduled to meet with the VP, our boss’s boss on Thursday afternoon. It so happened, Thursday morning on my way to work, my daughter in law asked me if I wanted to fill a last minute vacant spot in her mother’s cruise cabin. Of course, the possibility was off my radar. I had vendor meetings, conference calls and presentations to complete on Thursday and Friday. When she suggested I call in sick, I politely told her it was not possible.

As I headed for work and my first conference call for the day, second thoughts swirled in my mind. Somewhere in the 5 minutes between that call ending and my next meeting, I dashed into my boss’s office and told her about the random offer. She looked at me and said, “If it were me, I’d find a way to rearrange my schedule and I’d go!” Enough said, I dashed to my next meeting and began looking at my calendar to plan who could cover for me and what could I re-schedule.

By 10 am, I had a plan. I called my son and told him to call the cruise line, add my name and don’t leave without me. By 10:30, my vacation days were approved, my calendar cleared and my critical meetings covered by willing friends. By noon, I was home throwing together my required medical gear and prescriptions, bare bones wardrobe and basic shoes. And by two, my son, daughter-in-law, grandchildren and “Mimi”, their other grandmother, hustled through check-in on our way to four days of sea and Bahama island relaxation.

On that short vacation, God provided me the joy of living in the present moment. Playing “Connect Four” with my grandsons, JJ and Behn, I thought of nothing else but them; reveling in their boyish chatter and laughter. Drinking in the color and beauty at the on-board auctions, I was breathless with art that dilated my pupils and warmed my veins. Enjoying “Mimi” playing bingo for the first time in her life, and winning, kept any thoughts of work-life in the distant past. In his mercy and love, God knew what I needed to get me past falling down and onward to rising upward.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away
. Psalm 139:1-2

At this writing, one of our team has moved on to another job, but the rest of us are still working and looking forward to new heights rising.

Falling Upwards


Does the dandelion tuft

Mourn its wrenching from the globe

Home no longer with the rest

Curse cruel gales


Ride the crest?


Do falling leaves to mulch or mold

Cry fallen hopes in season’s cold

Give up their role in nature’s quest


Change to bedding for a nest?


Does a severed branch downed by wind

Give up its soul, its life rescind

When circumstance would name it “broke”


Does it rise anew as smoke?


In the wrenching and the falling

In the severering and the breaking

In the dying

Is awakening

Through Him

In Him

And with Him

Falling upwards.


Paula Veloso Babadi has worked in the health care industry for over thirty five years, but her true passion is poetry. She is a member of the St. John’s Chapter of the national Catholic Writers Guild and a regular contributor to the St. Joseph’sReflections Newspaper. Growing up in England and Pensacola with her Filipino and British parents and marrying into her Iranian family, she now lives in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband, daughter and nearby three grown sons and grandchildren.


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