How it Started
One fateful morning in September planted the seeds of my Blue Christmas.
Things had gone great up until about 8 am. I turned into my fifth customer’s parking lot. As I pulled up to the building I heard the horrible sound of scratching, screeching, and cracking next to me.
I won’t repeat the first thing that went through my mind.
Surveying the Damage
I hopped out of the cab. I saw strips of mangled metal that looked a mile long dangling from the roof of the cuatomer’s awning. Splinters from the broken wood on the rooftop structure littered the ground like blood from a murder victim. The driveway where parents would drop their kids off was blocked by the aftermath of my misjudgment.
I went inside, apologized profusely, and then humbly asked the director to help me fill out the accident investigation report.
She smiled nervously, then handed me some road cones to block the entrance from oncoming cars.
“What happened?” she asked.
Nothing I could say seemed good, so I just said, “I misjudged the distance. Sorry.”
I went outside. I fumbled through the packet in my truck for the paperwork. Now that I was alone, my mind had the opportunity to ask me a thousand penetrating questions.
The Mental Turmoil
I’m an introvert. I spend a lot of time in my head. Ideas do somersaults there. Thoughts get churned until they turn from ice to water to gas and back again. Every conceivable scenario gets an audition, and the most successful ones take residence until a more plausible one takes its place.
When something bad happens, it’s best to go ahead and stare the worst case scenario right in the eye -and imagine it becoming as bad as possible. The logic is that anything you can conceive afterwards will be better, brighter, and more hopeful.
The problem is you never know how long it will take to get through that process. You just have to do it, no matter how agonizing it is. If you don’t, your attempts to bury the pain will turn into a guilt gift that keeps on giving.
Telling My Boss
It’s also best to deal with bad news as soon as you can. If you have to wait, it can feel like change in a kid’s pocket. It’s so burning hot, you just have to get it out of there.
At least that’s older folks snicker and say.
I just knew what followed would not be good.
My supervisors and I had a difficult but necessary conversation. I was told that I was on probation, and that I might lose my position, if not my job.
While the whole thing was uncomfortable, I was able to function surprisingly well. I can’t attribute this to anything other than knowing that somehow, someway God would see me through this.
The “Final” Offer
A visit to an ophthalmologist revealed that while I had great peripheral vision, the doctor said I had “profound issues with depth perception.”
My driving career was over.
I was given a couple choices as the axe hung over my head. First, I could leave now and take a severance package. The second option was that I could stay until the end of the year and use my flex time to go to any interviews I might be able to schedule.
I took option 2.
The Job Hunt
I tried to stay positive.
It had been about five years since I had looked for a job. I sent out my resume to any job that looked promising. At times, it felt like fishing in a lake after a big competition had depleted all its resources. Other times it felt like groping around in the dark to investigate that strange sound in the night. Occasionally, it was a joyous task, right up there with that feeling you might get after washing a sinkful of dirty dishes.
The sands of the hourglass continued to pour.
A Random Text to the CEO
One day while I was out on the road assisting another driver, I sent a text to the company president. I thanked him for letting me stay a little longer after he surely could have fired me.
His reply was gracious.
“How’s the job hunt?” he messaged.
“It’s still on.” I replied.
Then he popped a question that presented me with a great opportunity.
“What is your dream job?”
What could I say?
I decided to go for broke. I had told him three years before that I’d love to train, develop people, and create materials to do that.
The News That Chased My Humbug Away
A month or more passed since I sent that text.
I hadn’t heard anything, so I kept looking for work. I’d spend an hour and a half every few days, filling out applications, answering tedious psychological exams, and fielding rejection e-mails. I asked people to pray, tell me any leads they had, and reported how depressing it was to continue a search that yielded so few results.
Then one day my boss told me to see him the next morning in his office.
I was prepared for whatever it might be.
“We’d like to offer you another six months. We want to offer this because we know you’ll work hard, day in and day out. You would continue in the warehouse doing what you’re doing. You’ll receive a bonus since you’ll have a big stake in what goes out the door. Also, we’d like you to write more for us.”
Well, there must be a God for things to work out so well in the midst of the dark season this fall had become!
The Final Word
I don’t know how your year has gone.
You might have had the best time of your life. If you have, give thanks to God. Be generous. Encourage others.
If this year has been tough, take heart. I can’t tell you how long the clouds will hang around. I do know that every life has rain as well as sunshine. Please know that if you know Jesus, there’s hope. It might take patience as you wait. If you don’t have that, just ask Him for it.
And don’t give up.
God knows what you need. Don’t worry if things don’t work out the way you think they should. Who knows? God might do it better than you ever imagined.
Take that to heart and have a Merry Christmas!