Five years ago at this time I was preparing to move to a foreign country to be a volunteer missionary. It was something I felt I was meant to do and was extremely excited for the opportunity. I had no idea what to expect and had all sorts of expectations all at once. There are parts of that experience that I would not trade for anything including the friendships formed, my Spanish language skills and my Arequipa family.
After I had been there about 8 months, my cousin Brandon died tragically. It hit my entire family like a freight train and being isolated from them made it worse. It was the first time I had experienced grief like that and I suspect I will never fully recover. Amid my grief, I chose to stay because I felt that was the right thing to do. I guess I figured that most people don’t get to quit their jobs when they’re grieving, so I would keep going.
About six weeks later, something happened within our organization that I considered extremely unfair and hurtful to someone on staff. The boss man called and invited those of us who were upset to sit down for a chat. I went to this meeting with the intention to voice my concern and ask what the reasoning was for the action taken. I was greeted with contempt and hostility- and I in turn responded with contempt and hostility. This person accused me of “not liking him” (well, I definitely don’t now) and conspiring against him (which I did not) and THEN used my grief against me saying he thought I should leave the organization because my grief was dragging the team down.
Brandon’s death was the worst moment of my life…that conversation was the second.
I walked around for a long time feeling like a failure, being angry and allowing that conversation to define me. I felt hurt, betrayed and pissed off to the point of obsession. My vision was so limited, as it tends to be when in the middle of difficult times.
Well, it’s been four years and I still feel hurt but I am also incredibly thankful.
I am thankful that I can now see the light in dark places because I survived that whole ordeal. I am thankful that I can share this story and hold out hope to anyone who feels like the rug has been ripped from under them. I am thankful for the things that would have happened differently (or not at all) if my plans hadn’t been destroyed by that guy…
Like meeting my husband.
Yes, I am thankful.