My life is in shambles right now. I don’t know to what extent it’s my fault and how to fix it. Sometimes I feel like God is using me to do a remake of Job.
A little less than four years ago I was on top of the world. I had a high paying job in the financial sector in my hometown. I thrived and excelled in this job. My manager, Dan, and I clicked. We could have meaningful discussions with two grunts and a head nod. Dan was a great guy, very OCD, but I learned to be Tom Cruise to his Rain Man.
Personally, I was wired in with my church and serving in all the places I wanted. I was teaching Sunday school and helped in a church food pantry that my wife ran and loved every minute of it! Friday night was mixed doubles bowling night. I had access to family and a virtually endless group of friends. I felt like Andy Taylor living in Mayberry.
Then came a fateful holiday weekend. We drove to visit my wife’s parents as we often did for holiday weekends. Upon returning to work, Dan told me he was retiring in two months and someone from another office was replacing him.
My dad had been a heart patient for years. As we celebrated his birthday, somehow, I just knew it was his last. He had a choice of the usual six months or high-risk surgery. He and mom chose surgery. Although they got the cancer, my dad’s heart could not compensate and he died.
I was devastated. The first day back at work after dad’s funeral was with my new boss. If I bought a pack of gum, there was a better way to chew it. I could not write a sentence for this person. After a couple of months I sent out a resume to a rival company and was quickly hired.
I took two weeks off with pay and prepared for the new job. On the day I quit, my church suffered severe fire damage. The weekend before I started the new job, we had to put our dog down. He was coughing up heart fluid. Notice the symmetry. Dad, job, church, and now my dog.
As Al Bundy once asked on “Married With Children,” I was like, “Slow day, God?”
Angus, sometimes events pile up at the same time. Sometimes events are spread out over time. It isn’t causality or God having a slow day or something you did. It’s just life.
Your father had a history and life trajectory independent of you. Dan had a history independent of you and so did your dog. Your church had a fire. None of these things is, in a sense, about you. They just happened to occur in the same time frame.
When events pile up, the pile impacts us, and since human beings are fierce searchers for meaning, we want to find meaning in it. But it’s just life. If they had been good events, you wouldn’t question them.
When things pile up, we need to fall back on the ways we use to cope with stress and change: deep breathing, meditation, prayer, sky diving, playing bridge. Or whatever our coping methods are. If we don’t have ways to cope, we need to search for some.
It’s how life works. Not according to our plan or schedule. We deal with things, we remember the good times and we find a way to move forward.
~ Wayne & Tamara
Column for the week of June 6, 2016
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