She had been struggling with her job ever since the day she started. Two and a half years ago. She doubted herself. She felt inferior to her coworkers. She thought they talked about her behind her back. She never felt comfortable doing the job. She never spoke up. She tried to play by the rules. She wanted everything spelled out to her in black and white. She was afraid of the gray areas. She didn’t trust herself. She was afraid she would get fired. And last week, her worst fear came true. She was fired.
She’s embarrassed. She’s confused. She wants answers but doesn’t want to ask the questions. She wants to move on. But mostly, she’s relieved. She knows the position wasn’t right for her. But as she said, the demon you know is better than the demon you don’t know. So she never tried to find another job. Because sometimes, the fear of starting over is worse than the fear of continuing on a familiar, yet uncomfortable path.
She was told she was being let go because of performance issues. But no one in management had ever told her that her performance was lacking. No one had ever pulled her aside and shared their concerns. No one had ever rated her performance as below par. But, apparently, people had been talking behind her back. And not to her face.
Now she’s out of work.
I sat down with her this week. For four hours we talked. I shared my story with her. I let her know that I too had once experienced the same type of job loss. I too was told after years on the job that I was no longer good enough. I no longer had the right skillset. And in an instant, my job was gone. Unexplained. Unexpected. Unemployed.
I knew she needed to talk it out. To rehash the past two and a half years. What she did right. What she did wrong. What she might have misunderstood. We laughed about the fact that she never had to do that job again. And she sighed with relief. She is ready to move on.
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
I had another conversation this week. The grandma house sitting for her son’s family, who are on an extended island vacation. She’s the friendly sort. Even though she lives hours away, she knows more that’s going on in my neighborhood than I do. We always try to chat when she’s in town.
She said she doesn’t think her 70’s are going to go very well. She has diabetes. She now suffers from vertigo. She has glaucoma. And she’s undergoing tests for Alzheimer’s. If the Alzheimer’s test comes back positive, she will start to make alternate plans for her remaining years. She said she will give some of her money to her children. She will have to make arrangements for her house and other possessions. She’s afraid she won’t live to see 80. She’s in for an uncertain future.
And she still takes care of her elderly parents.
She seemed calm about the prospect of might lie ahead. But who knows the thoughts that go through her mind as she lays her head on the pillow each night. What fears race through her mind? What worries keep her awake? What disappointments cause tears to flow? What dreams will she never realize?
She says she’s lived a full live. She had a good marriage and children she’s proud of. She sees hope and promise for the future of her grandchildren. She believes they will have opportunities that she never had. She’s happy that her son found a good wife. She notices the physical strain placed on her daughter, due to the adoption of a special needs child. She worries about the health of her children and the choices they make. Yet she says she keeps these concerns to herself, because she doesn’t want to rob her children of happiness.
I told her that I would pray for her. She seemed to gain comfort from those words.
We never know what life will throw at us. And these two women don’t have the comfort of calling Jesus their Lord and Savior. They haven’t repented of their sins and committed their lives to following Jesus Christ. They don’t have the calm assurance that God is with them in every good and bad day of their lives.
Perhaps I’m called to be the light in their moments of darkness. Perhaps I’ll have the opportunity to share my faith and my trust in a loving God who knows their every thought and fear. He sees the paths of uncertainty they face. He holds their future in his hands. And he can hold them, too.
We see hurting people everywhere. We don’t always know the hurts they’re carrying. Because most people choose to remain silent. They suffer alone. But when someone opens up in a moment of raw need, those of us who have the hope of a certain eternal future must share the hope that we have. We can’t keep silent. We know the hope for our future. We must not be shy about sharing our faith. We can offer to pray for someone who is hurting or without hope, because God is attentive to our prayers. Our hope lies in Jesus Christ. Let’s help turn a hurting world to the source of all healing.