February 15, 2013
The Bouncy Ball: A Farewell Note
by Suanne Camfield
So I have this bouncy ball in my coat pocket.
I found it earlier this winter when I stuffed my hands in the pockets of a coat I hadn't worn since last spring. You know how it goes, the discovery of random items that leave you scratching your head. For me, it was a few disintegrated tissues, a gum wrapper, a hair tie, a handful of spare change, and one bright green and yellow camouflaged bouncy ball. I put the hair tie on my wrist, slapped the change on the counter and was about to toss the ball in the trash when my spirit gave a little flutter.
A few years ago, my kids went through this bouncy-ball-obsessed phase. They'd snag them from gumball machines, birthday parties, dentist's and doctor's offices, and with unrivaled enthusiasm marvel over sizes and colors, sparkles and swirls, and--of course--bounciness.
For months I dodged the balls as they flew through my house, taking erratic turns as they leaped off floors, tables and walls. I'd step on them on my way to bed and curse. I'd uncover them, caked with dust, in every corner of the house. One got stuck in my Shop Vac. Another one hit me in the eye.
I hated those dang bouncy balls.
And yet there I stood, holding one in my hand, tears stinging my eyes, and I couldn't help but smile. The bouncy ball has come to remind me of the bittersweetness of life, the way it bounces us around in ways good and bad but that never stays the same. I stuffed the ball back in my pocket as a reminder to live fully in the present, and to hold onto those experiences and people and moments that mark seasons of life, bring us joy and shape who we are. Above all, it's become a reminder to continually be grateful for a savior who, regardless of any bumps and turns life throws our way, always--always--remains the same.
Today is my last day at IVP. I've worked here just shy of three years--a flash in the pan considering the tenure of some of my colleagues. But, for me, it's been a significant three years. Years that have helped me find my professional footing after eight years as an at-home mom. Years that have given me the privilege of sharing meals with inspired and prophetic voices I never dreamed would be more than ink on a page. Years that have been full of meaningful experiences, rich ideas and gracious colleagues that have shaped the way I interact with my faith and move through life.
When I set out to write this post, I envisioned naming, specifically, a long list of those things: coworkers to whom I'm indebted (Dave Zimmerman, for example, who in addition to serving as my supervisor, editor and friend, has listened to me drone endlessly about my five-year plan without once telling me to shut my yap), books I wanted to rehash, authors whose real-life character has spoken more volumes than they could write in a lifetime.
But, frankly, I've run out of time. Quitting a job is time-consuming stuff. Emails keep coming, to-do lists lengthen, interruptions abound.
And so, instead, I'll say thank you here to all of IVP--its staff, its authors, its audience and its friends in the publishing industry--for being the kind of people that I'll put in my pocket and carry with me, gratefully, wherever I go.