Today (Friday February 7th) as I was leaving work, contemplating my last day here (having spent the last 6 months working as a casual employee), before commencing my new permanent place of work next week, I consoled myself with a variation of an old quote:
‘Friends are for a reason, a season, or a lifetime’
‘Everything happens for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.’
I thought about all the reasons and seasons I’ve been through in this place, and in other workplaces, but especially here as it’s been such a huge part of my lifetime. When I’ve ‘stepped out’ to travel to Africa, or to a new place of employment, ‘this place’ has been somewhere I could come back to, helping me to find my feet again.
It’s the place where I am known. The place where I grew up. The place that taught me everything I know. With all its politics and varied relationships, some close and others completely indifferent, this is another version of what I would call ‘family.’ So while it ‘feels like’ I’m leaving, I’m not. What I am leaving, is my comfort zone.
For all the years I’ve known this saying, today as I thought of moving to my new place of employment and how everything happens for a reason, a season, or a lifetime I heard this response: Could it be for a season, with a reason, for a lifeline?
Let me tell you a story about ‘Naamah’ and ‘Sarah’:
Back in November last year (2019) I briefly met my new neighbours Naamah and Boris as I was rushing out and they were coming home (our doors are side by side in our apartment building). Naamah said “We should organise tea.” But then due to a miscommunication it didn’t happen and so a few weeks later I decided to follow it up. Because I’m naturally shy, quiet and awkward, I admit that my follow up was prompted by a ‘random act of kindness’ challenge through a women’s group I’m part of within my church circle. And so it was a couple of weeks later Naamah and I met for tea, and had a great afternoon getting to know each other.
It was a week or two after that in December, that Naamah’s Aunt Sarah arrived from their home country to visit for a 6 week holiday. It was on a Sunday afternoon, Naamah asked if we could go for lunch. While we were at lunch chatting about so many things and the importance of having hobbies outside of work, Aunt Sarah asked about my hobbies. And so I told them about my writing, the 3 collaborative books I’ve written, and a brief outline of each.
Aunt Sarah was intrigued and wanted to know more about my writing, but in particular about my first chapter. A book titled Spiritual Conversations, in which my chapter is titled: A raw conversation with God. And so I delved deeper into that chapter, and my story behind it.
While telling my story, feeling choked up as I spoke (because there are parts of it that I still ‘feel’ in remembering the pain), I noticed Naamah smiling from ear to ear, and yet I didnt understand why. But then as I looked at Aunt Sarah, to see her crying, reaching in her handbag for a tissue, I would soon come to know exactly how Naamah’s smiling and Aunt Sarah’s crying was all connected to my story.
Seven months earlier (that’s about May 2019) Aunt Sarah at the age of 40, single, and no children, had a hysterectomy for the condition of uterine fibroids and the resulting anaemia. In struggling to come to terms with it all, she then had another condition to deal with: the diagnosis of depression.
‘Funny’ isn’t it . . . that Aunt Sarah’s story in May 2019, was exactly my story in May 2016 . . . just 3 years earlier, when I was 45. And so while Aunt Sarah spoke of coming to Australia to forget about her situation. I wondered, could it be that God brought Aunt Sarah to Australia, to help her in her situation? And so I love the quote below:
It’s scary to be vulnerable. But when we are (in a safe and healthy place to do so) it has the power to transform what was our pain, into someone else’s gain. While it may be a selfish reason, I like that this in turn gives a sense of purpose to my pain.
And so . . . if God can organise a woman living in another country on the other side of the world (that shares my exact story) to visit her niece, my next door neighbour (who I only just met), that I would then have opportunity to share my story and give her a copy of my book, so that maybe it can help her on her journey . . . could this then have been a 6 week season, with a hysterectomy reason, to be a lifeline for Aunt Sarah as she ‘navigates’ depression?
Who have you been a ‘lifeline’ for today?
Maybe you dont even know it!
And as for your workplace and mine, what if:
It’s not about what we ‘do’ in our place of employment.
But about who we ‘be’ in our place of deployment.
Employed? and/or Deployed?
Our employer employs us for our skills.
But God deploys us for our gifts!
In this current corona crisis, as many of my fellow nurses in casual employment are out of work, I feel like my new permanent workplace is my lifeline.
I feel for all who have lost their employment in this time. But I hope if you are reading this, that you find encouragement in it somehow.