On Job Loss, or Send dem weeds to da compos’ pile!

ImageI’ve never been fired before. What a demoralizing experience, particularly when you’re singled out, and the job loss is just yours, not company- or division-wide. Even more devastating to the psyche when you were unaware this tsunami was on your horizon, and find yourself suddenly submerged.

It’s a very strange place.

But it isn’t defining. Not in the places inside that matter, and not even in the bigger picture. It’s a painful speed bump, is all.

It hurts and there’s no getting around that. It causes me to sit in painful retrospection, analyzing every decision I made while on the job, second-guessing almost every call. “Should I have done that? Why didn’t I do this? Why didn’t I see such-and-such? Wow, am I really that incompetent? Why didn’t I see this coming?” Over it all: “What did I do so badly or so wrong that you are sending me packing without notice?”

It dangles a seed of bitterness over a fresh indention in the soil of the soul. It erodes some self-confidence. It suspends pruning shears over once-healthy self-esteem and sense of usefulness.

But it isn’t defining. At least, it doesn’t have to be, and I choose not to let it. This has to be intentional; the default result to the soul, left untended, is a bed of weeds and thorns (of bitterness, self-doubt, loss of purpose).

I choose to look at my anger and hurt, acknowledge them and have some discussions with them, then kindly send them packing, their job done.

I choose to see the loss as a release – into something grander Jesus has in mind for me, into growth of my character to be more like his (his ultimate goal for me personally).

I look at the evil twin-temptations of cynicism and bitterness and say, “Not today, you weeds. You will not put down roots in my heart. My heart loves Jesus and his Bride, and my heart is safe under the wings of the Almighty. You have no place here…I hereby consign you to the compost pile, where you will ferment and biodegrade into something rich and healthy where tulips and eggplants will bloom.”

I choose to love Jesus, who loved me first, and his Church, for whom he died and of whom I am an eternal part. We are all of us flawed believers – saints with limps and crooked halos, to borrow from Brendan Manning.

Who I am is affected, as every experience shapes us like a tide a shoreline.

Whose I am remains, always, unchanged. Jesus holds me tenderly, and “arms me with strength [and] makes my way perfect” (Ps. 18:32).

Published in: on February 6, 2013 at 2:08 am  Leave a Comment