On the Other Side of Pain
As we approach Christmas, awaiting the gifts from Santa underneath the tree, but most importantly, awaiting the celebration of the birth of Christ, I am seeing more and more each day the word “anticipation.” I reflected on anticipation during an advent experience about two weeks ago. I’ve heard it in church. I’ve seen it in magazines. I feel as though this is something ordinary that has been discussed every year. Somehow, I feel as though I missed it in years past.
This year, that word-it is standing out to me as I await new things.
Yet sometimes what we anticipate comes after a time of loss.
I read a fantastic article by Maria Goff in The Magnolia Journal this month called “Rebuilding Anticipation.” This article was especially meaningful to me this year.
Maria says, “I think we all get the chance to do a little rebuilding at some point in our lives. It might be a career, a relationship, an ambition, or even our faith that has felt like it was washed out to sea. But it’s what we do next that tells us more about how we’re growing as people.”
It has been such a long time since I wrote here, and the last time I wrote I was looking for a job. I found one, and it was one of the biggest blessings in my life. I enjoyed my job with a passion and genuinely enjoyed getting up for work each day. I couldn’t wait to see what the day would hold.
But one day in this August, I walked into work like every other day, and something wasn’t quite right. People who should have been there weren’t. Soon I was called into a meeting, and when I walked out of that meeting, I was changed. I had lost my job, and I felt as though my world was crumbling around me. I cried many times over the next few weeks-despite every effort to hold it in.
People told me afterward to take a deep breath. I had been extremely busy at work-stressed out, even. It was time to experience silence. It was time to rest. This time, I was told, was a gift. I needed to find out what God held for me during this unexpected “gift.” That term, “gift,” appeared again and again. And soon, after I was done grieving the loss of a dream, it did become a gift.
I was able to experience much during that time that I would not have been able to experience otherwise.
Goff says later in her article: “I’ve seen with renewed clarity the beauty of living a life in constant anticipation of what is next as the antidote for some of what has been lost…the joy of re-creating can be worth enduring the pain of loss. The ocean mirrors our lives in a lot of ways. Each day, we get to decide whether to live in fear of what might be washed away or in anticipation of what our losses make possible. Our lives are filled with gives and takes, but neither the waves nor the setbacks we experience are our enemy. They’re reminders of the absolute, limitless supply of possibilities that continue to exist in all of our lives.”
What a powerful expression of what anticipation after loss can be. Following this experience, I could live life afraid of what could happen. Or I could anticipate “what [my] losses make possible.”
Soon after I lost my job, I was hired for a new one. This job has been okay, but it doesn’t compare to my last one.
Since starting that new job, I received another job offer that is a step in the right direction for my career in marketing. It’s with a larger brand doing more of what I love, and so I accepted the offer. Do not get me wrong, there were a few things that needed to be ironed out before I was willing to accept the offer though. You see, I had been doing some research into what the ideal example of an offer letter should look like for an employee with my experience and skillset and so I was ready to negotiate a few things with management before my starting date. Anyway, I start at the beginning of next year, and I am looking forward to working in a larger capacity than I have in the past, learning new things, and being busy helping to grow an already-successful business even further!
None of this-the stress, the job loss, the in-between job-none of it is wasted. None of it is “lost time.” Did I grieve? Yes. Did I feel dissatisfied at times? Yes. But as Maria says, “neither the waves nor the setbacks we experience are our enemy.”
While I still miss my old job at times, I do truly value this in-between time. I had the opportunity to visit my sister at her home for the first time. I spent more time with my kids, took lots of photos, and drew closer to God. The time between then and now has prepared me for my new venture while giving me the time I needed to complete my Bachelor’s degree with less stress.
While I can’t really say I enjoy experiencing loss, I sure can’t wait to see what else my losses make possible.