I won’t go into too much detail here, because I don’t want to give cause for a misinterpretation of events; but this little incident was too good not to share. Stay tuned for one tiny peek at an unplanned and unexpected but very welcome Redemptive Moment. 🙂
I WAS FIRED.
I was fired. Yep – not from my present job, but the job I had before. It’s been nearly 8 years since I went through very rough waters with a former employer, both sides feeling justified in a growing distrust and mutual dissatisfaction, and a painful ordeal that was only survived with some grace because of a gracious mediator who walked us through the transition that would ultimately lead to me training my own replacement.
This was a life-altering experience for me – not just because it was so devastating to not be believed, not be trusted, and feel I had NO earthly way to rectify the opinions of others, but mainly because this was a small family owned business, and these were people I had known for YEARS before working there, had gone to CHURCH with them, had what I thought was a loving relationship with them and their kids outside any workplace association. Yet in the months when everything unraveled and in the subsequent mutual parting of ways, everything in our friendship and association also vanished.
MEMORY IS A TRICKY THING.
From what I understand – and please, I’m not a scientist, so let’s just chalk this up to being a bit of an internet and news junkie – our brains RE-remember every time we visit a “memory,” and HOW we perceive is fluid, always changing – almost as if the memories themselves are living things – and yet our CONVICTIONS about what we remember are equally as strong in the 10th telling (which for some people will be much more varied from the first telling than others) even if the content (unbeknownst to us) may differ in significant ways.
Perhaps that’s a good argument for keeping a journal – provided we can be trusted to recount events honestly to ourselves, which sometimes may be a big “if.” 🙂
As for me? Here? I remember more the emotions, the hurt, the suspicion, or the anger – even the fury – sometimes directed at me. I remember returning some of the same. Present emotions often register as shame, regret, sorrow, that wishful longing that things had been different, that I had DONE things differently.
A BROKEN WINDSHIELD TO HEAL.
By happenstance, my car recently suffered (another) windshield injury. I looked up a repair shop online, not fully registering the location of the address, and mistakenly assessing it to be closer to my job for a quick lunch visit. In fact, this shop was several miles away, in the neighborhood of my previous place of employment. And I arrived to learn my windshield was non-repairable – I would have to reschedule for another visit to have the whole thing replaced. So by happenstance *ahem* I found myself with some time to kill before going back to work, AND within just a couple blocks of this place which attaches to so many significant negative (but growth-inducing) emotions.
So I decided to drop in for a visit.
And I found that the son has since bought the business from his parents, the wife (daughter-in-law) now manages the main office and the books, and though the mom no longer works there, the dad still weaves in and around the office, cheerfully advertising, don’t you know, that the KFC founder didn’t really get his business feet under him till he was 80 years old, so there!
I found that the gal who had replaced me was years gone, and the gal I had replaced more years before was now working there again. I found that the business had weathered the economic downturn seemingly well, and that the gracious mediator I had hoped to revisit had resigned just a few months before to pursue more missions-minded work in another city. How fitting. 🙂
There was shock expressed over how much weight I’ve lost (they all knew me at my unhealthiest), there was curiosity about the house I’ve recently purchased, my now living near my sister so many miles away from my current job, and the nearly 8 years I’ve now been with the same employer. We visited about changes in our church experiences, changes in our country, and in short how the years mature us .. if we let them. 🙂
There were smiles, even a few hugs, and they let me wander out back until I found the 80+ year old dad lifting his face to soak up a little sun behind the shop, enjoying a quiet smoke break, standing just exactly as I remember him .. I got to visit with him for a few minutes, and … was that “relief” spreading over his face? To learn that I was now in such a good place, healthy and happy and well cared for …. I left well-wishes for everyone, and asked the dad to take a love greeting to his wife, my former boss, too.
Then another round of hugs and affirmations for the healing time can minister, and we all marveled once again at how .. Paths can cross and sever, but God is still God of us all, and – for those who will humbly yield to it – his grace is greater than what we allow to divide ….
I think I will never again feel as much GRATITUDE as I did that day for a badly timed rock bouncing on the freeway on my commute to work. 😉 Miracles can spring forth from the most unlikely of places, don’t you know.
And just for the record, I don’t believe in “happenstance.” 😉
I deserve to not be inconvenienced.
If you are driving too slowly, I deserve the right of way – you should pull over, or better yet, get off the road because nobody who drives too slowly should be allowed to continue to renew their license.
If you are taking too long to tell your story, whether in person or on the phone, I deserve to not only walk away from or hang up on you, but to do so without any negative feeling from you in response.
On the other hand, if you become distracted while I am telling you one of my all-important but protracted stories, I have a right to become angry and indignant and to express to you all the ways in which your lack of attention has hurt me deeply.
If your incompetence is causing me extra work, nevermind that I am in the “service” industry, I deserve to point out your failings, loudly and in front of others if possible, so as to make it clear that I have been wildly wronged and should in no way be held responsible for my own suffering productivity.
If you post something to social media with which I disagree, I deserve the top billing in the newsfeed to castigate you and express with vehemence my strict opposition, even if I’m expressing myself in the most extreme terms and verbiage which might cause me regret if I were to re-visit the topic when I might be more sober-minded.
If I suddenly feel I do not wish to keep our previously confirmed plans, I deserve – whatever my reasons – the freedom and authority to completely bail on you to do my own thing, or failing that option, to simply arrive as late as possible so I can be sure to maximize every minute of my own time with no respect to yours.
If you run a restaurant for which there are many patrons, no matter how excellent your food, I deserve to be bumped ahead of as many of the people in front of me as possible, and I deserve to be waited on by not just any waiter, but by the owner who has arrived on property just in time to receive me properly.
Similarly, if I am running late for the start of my movie, I deserve priority access to the ticket counter – so I can squeeze in ahead of the other dozen people who had the forethought to arrive on time for their shows – before the end of the previews.
If I have been forced to occupy a middle seat on our plane, I deserve your deference to trade places so that you are the uncomfortable one and not me, or else I will penalize you for the duration of our flight with squirming, bouncing, bumping, and even loud, bad-breathy conversation which will cause you to wish you had acquiesced and just given me the aisle seat in the first place.
Need I go on?
More recent tweets ~ there is a trick to fitting something worth saying into such a small amount of space!
- I can b so quick 2jump 2judgments which in turn excuses me 2b quick 2take offense. Rather, if I love like Christ, I shd 1st believ the best.
- I think our feelings of insecurity are, more often than not, evidences of idolatry: I desire -> I need -> I hv a right to -> U/they owe me!
- Insecurity/Low Self-Esteem can LOOK like Humility but at root it’s Pride; it is eyes-on-SELF. Rather, humility is eyes-OFF-self &on Christ!
- Insecurity/Low Self-Esteem is evidenc ur listening2 & believing anothr voice than that of ur Good Shepherd! Go bak 2Word & who ur in CHRIST.
- 2b “In Faith” 4something doesnt mean ur just believing for it 2happen/be rec’vd. Faith isn’t power; faith LAYS HOLD of power by God’s WORD.
- It isn’t “inauthentic” to NOT vocalize every thought/emotion that goes through my soul! It is WISDOM to hold some of these things close!
- How can I engage u 2day 2edify u? Even if u hv the power 2hurt/embarrass/dismiss, can I turn the situation around w/a fit word aptly spoken?