Always remember

When anniversaries of momentous days come around, I find I’m able to recall the events in great detail. For example, my wedding day, the birthdays of my daughters and grandchildren, and the day Ray was called Home are all etched in my mind . . . .

. . . as is the day I learned my job had been eliminated.

January 26, 2011 was overcast and chilly, a typical mid-winter day. I was anticipating my annual review at three o’clock that afternoon. My emotions went back and forth between calm and concern throughout the day. To say things hadn’t been going well in the year since I started reporting to a new manager was an understatement. In fact, the situation had deteriorated to the point I told my family I expected to be put on probation or terminated. I’m sure they felt my statement was hyperbole, a by-product of the stress I’d been under. I, however, was most sincere. In looking back, I believe that premonition was a gift, God’s way of preparing me for the news I would hear.

I went to the appointed conference room at the scheduled time. A few minutes later my manager entered, accompanied by her boss. His presence was my first clue this wouldn’t be a normal review. My suspense didn’t last long as my manager said, “I know you’re expecting to have your annual review, but you won’t be having it because your job has been eliminated.” My first thought: “This is real.” My second: “Thank you, Lord, for giving me an absolute answer.” Indeed it was a clear, decisive response to all the prayers for wisdom I and faithful friends had been praying, as I wondered if I should continue working or resign.

I was told the HR manager would be in to explain the details of my termination. Within the hour I’d turned in my computer, my badge and my company credit card. As I drove home, a protective numbness settled in. Just like that, my 30-year career came to an end. I wasn’t even able to say goodbye and there was certainly no opportunity for a retirement party.

The next morning I awoke to a familiar feeling and realized I was in a mild state of shock, not as deep as the one I’d experienced when Ray died suddenly, but a surreal sense of loss nonetheless. A significant part of my life had ended abruptly and was no longer accessible to me.

12-17-2012-me-and-joshua-at-graduation-3-2But my story was far from over. On January 28th, a mere two days after that fateful meeting, I contacted the admissions office at a local technical college and started the enrollment process to study horticulture. Six months later, my first grandchild was born. Joshua was present when I received my Environmental Horticulture diploma in December 2012. Two more grandchildren, Lyla and Emma, have joined our family. My days are full and my interests are many. I am blessed to have meaningful relationships. I am thankful.

When I awoke this morning, there was a tinge of sadness. I wish my career had ended differently. There are co-workers and customers I still miss and remember fondly. But, most of all, on this beautiful sunny day, I hark back across six years and praise God for working all things together for good.[1]

On multiple occasions, God commanded the Israelites to remember what he’d done for them, to tell their children, even to set up memorial stones so they wouldn’t forget his mighty deeds on their behalf.[2] Last week I had the pleasure of a lengthy phone call with a dear friend. Our relationship stretches across 35 years. We’ve known each other long enough and well enough to compare notes on dating, marriage, motherhood and, now, grand-motherhood. We’ve prayed for each other and watched as God’s plan has unfolded for us and our families. And we agree that one of the best things about getting older is having more and more instances to look back on to remind ourselves of all God has done. He is faithful. He keeps his promises. He never forsakes his own.[3]

At three o’clock this afternoon, I recollected how it felt to sit in that windowless conference room and receive the news of my termination. But those memories were quickly eclipsed by recalling all God’s done since. What an adventure he had in store for me!

Though there are times we can’t understand his ways[4], we can always trust him to have a plan – a good and perfect plan.[5]

[1] Romans 8:28

[2] See, for example, Deuteronomy 4:9, Psalm 103:2, Joshua 4 and Deuteronomy 6

[3] Deuteronomy 31:8

[4] Isaiah 55:8-9

[5] Jeremiah 29:11

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