Inside “The End”, Part 5

(Read Part 4 here)

One of the big things I noticed right away is that a lot of people treat you differently when they find out you’re losing your job. I was surprised at who reached out and who didn’t. Some people avoided me or unintentionally (?) said really hurtful and insensitive things. Some people who I have a lot of history with were eerily silent. That was crushing and confusing.

The people who reached out to me kind of surprised me, honestly. Most of them were people who I didn’t necessarily feel very close to. They gave me kind and honest words, hugs, texts, emails, cups of coffee, cards… I saw a new and beautiful side to these people – an angle that I hadn’t noticed before.

This piece of pain has caused me to go back to coworkers who lost their jobs before me and apologize for my silence. I wish I’d been one of the people who went to them with hugs, kind words, cards… but, it was so easy to allow busyness, fear, uncertainty to silence me.

I think there’s a gift in this pain. I hear people differently these days. I listen with a different understanding. I speak with a different understanding. Even though I’ve disliked the question, “What do you do for a living?” for a long time, I *really* dislike it now. That question leaves me in stunned silence – how do I answer that now? Instead of that question, I’m trying to ask a more open question, “How do you spend your days?” I also know more what it’s like to feel alone, angry, afraid, trusting God when I can’t see what’s ahead, confused, and the confidence-crushing reality of losing a job.

It’s awkward and messy business walking with people in pain. Grieving people can be prickly and hard to be around, so I also understand why some people “gave me space”. I’m learning more about the importance of extending grace and love to prickly, hurting people. I’m more willing to risk some awkwardness on my part – yes, I might accidentally say or do the wrong thing, but I want to show up for others. I’m grateful for that lesson in compassion.

In your times of grief, what has been the best thing another person did for you?

…read Part 6…

Vulnerability

I’ve realized lately is that one of the hardest things for me about being vulnerable is the great likelihood that I’ll be misunderstood. That’s the truly icky part about the art of communication of any form – verbal, text, tweet, blog, video.

I’ve received a few messages from well-meaning people who have told me to “stop living in the past” and “just trust God”. Others have reprimanded me for my lack of faith. Sadly, I believe that these folks have missed the point of my blogs and may have misunderstood me.

In regards to my blog series, “Inside ‘The End’“, I want to say a few things for the sake of clarity…

  1. I hold no ill will toward Moody Radio. I’ve grown and learned so much at Moody. I’ve been given lots of opportunities and I’m so grateful. Toward the end of my employment, I had several good meetings with the VP of Moody Radio. I feel that I was treated well by him and by Moody Bible Institute. Moody Radio is a good, focused ministry. There are some really talented professionals who work there and I will miss them so, so much. I have no doubt that God will continue to use the radio ministry. I’m very sad to no longer work there and I left on good terms, blessing Moody Radio.
  2. The blogs that I write are my own personal observations and feelings during this transition. My hope is that others can relate to the observations – whether the reader is going through a job transition or another kind of grief/change.
  3. I’m not looking for sympathy or advice, nor do I want to drag this on forever. Grief is a process, though. It ebbs and flows. It’s a long process and it’s messy. I’m in a good place, presently, where I can calmly believe that God is working in my life – teaching me, comforting me, sustaining me. Ask me next week, and my answer might be different. This is what it is to be human – the ups and downs and mistakes and triumphs. I intend to be honest about that.
  4. For the past 5 years or so, even though I’ve felt great purpose, challenge, and satisfaction in my work, I’ve been restless and have told God, “If you want me to leave Moody Radio, You will need to remove me – I’m too afraid to go on my own.” So, when I was told that my job was ending, my first response was, “Well, God… that’s Your answer.” And I felt relief. My very next response was fear and sadness – but, I remember that first sense of knowing that God was directing me.
  5. I’m writing these blogs because, frankly, if I was a listener of Midday Connection I would be reading these, too. There’s not a secret motive or agenda for what I’m writing. Honestly? It’s just helpful for me to articulate my thoughts here and find that many of you resonate with those thoughts. Reading your notes that say, “Yes. Me, too” are so meaningful! I want to be honest here in hopes that others will also have the courage to be honest with the messiness of their own lives, too. I mean, come on – we’re all a mess. Let’s be messy together, it’s a lot more fun than faking that our lives are all tidy!

Inside “The End”, Part 1

It all started on May 27th when I was called into an impromptu meeting. No, actually I need to back up. It all really started during the Labor Day weekend in 2007. That’s when God began to do some difficult and exciting work in my life through a retreat with Anita, Melinda, and a new friend, Janet Davis. That weekend solidified my mission at Midday Connection (Moody Radio) – to speak truth and freedom to women. We continued to do that with all our hearts for the next 8 years. It was difficult and exhilarating work.

Then, May 27th 2015, I was called into a meeting that I assumed was about my job. I had gathered my courage a few months earlier and asked for a raise and job title change due to my increased role on-air. So, I assumed this meeting was to inform me about that request. My department manager met me at the door of the studio right after our live program and asked if he could have a minute upstairs. We walked upstairs and he lightly asked about my summer vacation and the weather. When we got to the conference room, our VP of Radio was there, which triggered a red flag. He asked to pray. Another red flag. His prayer was shaky and heavy. More red flags. I laughed nervously and said, “You’re freaking me out here…” He sadly nodded and quickly got to the point that Midday Connection was ending. I’d actually gotten so comfortable in my job that I thought they would never, NEVER end my program. I was in absolute shock. And, I learned that Melinda was leaving before Anita and me. My heart was broken and I knew this was only the beginning of the grief.

As I left the room with my white “How to Survive a Layoff” binder, I realized I was still holding a coffee mug that a listener had given me a few years ago at a live event. That’s when tears came… what about our listeners?

…Read Part 2 here…

You might also want to read this blog about vulnerability.

The Chair

chairThe chair. The *chair*! I couldn’t believe it when I saw the chair at my neighbor’s yard sale. Inviting, comfy, roomy. I knew that this would be *my* chair – an easy decision to spend $30. We quickly did some rearranging in our living room and carted in my chair.

I’d just found out the day before that my job was being eliminated. I was stunned. This chair was a little manna for the day – and coming days.

The summer of 2015 was rather rainy and hot in my area. I used that as an excuse to stay inside. Summers for me are usually full of walks, yard work, and outdoor projects. But this year, I had no heart for any of it. I sat in my chair. Just sat. I didn’t read, I didn’t pray, I didn’t really do anything. I sat. Stunned. Anxious. Sad. Depressed. Angry. I spent 80% of my days in that chair. Our cats would visit me, my guy would come and go, the sun would come and go. I sat. I watched a patch of sky above my neighbor’s house.

I met with my spiritual director and told her about my chair. I was surprised at how I just sat there. So unlike me. That’s all I could do. I was hunkering down, healing. My life was suddenly unpredictable and uncertain, but the world in my chair was known and safe. She asked, “While you’re sitting in your chair, do you have a sense of God with you?” I thought for a moment. I hadn’t felt an absence of God – I knew God was with me, even though I hadn’t prayed much more than, “Help” from time to time. Then, a word came to me: nest. My chair felt like a nest. And I clearly had a sense of God over me, like a protective Mother Hen. I felt safe, loved, accepted by God. No judgement, no shoulds. Just love.

I’m not sitting in my chair as much these days. A few weeks ago, I dragged a small wooden desk into our house that another neighbor was getting rid of… cleaned it up, put it in front of a sunny window, filled the drawers with papers and ideas, pens and folders. Deep breath. I’m ready to get to work. Ready to try to fly again.