When things change, sometimes it hurts


It can be a strange thing when verb tenses change. Often it has been my experience that verb tense changes signify a modification in a situation or a person. I’m sure I use them all the time without a wince or a struggle and only notice when verb tenses change if something or someone’s situation is different and I wish it had not changed. Often when I do perceive this verb tense change thing, I find myself hurting because I want the verb tense to have remained the same. (Has any of this made sense???) 

Well, this week, I have experienced two significant verb changes. Something that is, isn’t. Something that was, wasn’t. Something you have, you don’t anymore.

On Monday, I lost my job. 

On Sunday, my husband lost his much loved uncle. 

After 7 1/2 years, the job I loved and poured myself into with every fiber of my being, is now gone. In a split second, after an emotional phone call from my boss, I experienced that verb tense thing I hate. I work in non-profit ministry. Correction, I worked and I was blessed to be around people I treasured.  When donations went down to an all-time low, a difficult decision was made and I, along with several other co-workers were laid off. It happened that fast. I harbor no hard feelings (at least at this point) with the decision. It’s just that I’m trying to get used to this new way of defining myself. Who am I now? 

There have been countless times when I have wanted to quit and I have dreamed of this day. When I have been overwhelmed by annoying students or heavily burdened by a teenager’s story. When a high school girl is picking her nose and eating it! the entire time we are speaking, um, yeah, I want to quit! When a skinny, pale-skinned teenager is bent on interjecting a sarcastic answer every time I speak, you bet, I want to hand in my notice! But then, there are times when a student is crying and her tears have soaked through my shirt, that I praise the Lord because I am there to encourage and love. Or the kids who write to me afterward and say we have changed their lives. Nothing can beat those moments. My job, working with teens and meeting so many in the midst of regretful choices and pain, has been exhausting on every level. Y’all, I have seen and heard more things than I ever imagined and most of it wasn’t pretty. But it was my mission field (in addition to my own OS and DH, that is).

But it’s that verb thing that is haunting. I found myself trying to figure out what verb to use today. I was talking about my boss, was he now “my former boss?” It seriously stings just to type those words. 

This is coupled with the fact that we are driving out of state for a funeral. On Sunday, my husband called to see how Uncle Bill was doing. We all knew he was seriously ill and would not survive much longer. When Aunt Emmy answered the phone, she told us his grave condition would soon end. We talked about Uncle Bill as we drove to the farmer’s market and then, about an hour later, when we were at home, Aunt Emmy called. Uncle Bill was gone. 

I began unloading the bounty from the farmer’s market and realized, crud, here goes that stupid verb tense change thing again. 

Uncle Bill was a heck of a guy. He was into everything. An avid Boy Scout leader, a researcher, very active in his church, he was a microbiology professor at Bowling Green University, he was a husband of 56 years and a father of four. And he was quirky. Like you’ll never meet another Uncle Bill. They broke the mold, as people would say. For example, he and Aunt Emmy were fascinated with Civil War medicine and attended conventions and seminars about it. Did you even know there were Civil War medicine conventions?? On their way to these conventions, they would stop by and visit. It’s there that I got to meet and love good ‘ole Uncle Bill. 

When Mark’s mom (Uncle Bill’s sister) died about 15 years ago, I gave the tearful eulogy. As I recall, he was the first person to come up to me afterward and give me a hug. I will never forget his kindness.

So in the span of 48 hours, I have reasons to weep over loss and verb tense change. We are on our way to Ohio for the services. I have Kleenex, family, memories and my Jesus to see my through.

9 thoughts on “When things change, sometimes it hurts

  1. Cindy, I'm so sorry for both losses. At NCSU we are in the midst of a financial hail-storm ourselves, waiting on pins and needles to see who gets the boot. I know God is in control and that's what gives me peace, and I know that will bring you peace as well. Love and prayers.

  2. We *are* a non-profit, as well. The gas company just rang the doorbell to tell us the gas will be turned off today if we don't pay the bill. Oh well, who needs the heat in the summer? Sooo… we don't have employees because 'we is them' (do ya like that grammar?) Anyway, non-profits everywhere are suffering. We know that first hand.I am sad for your change in status, but you have passion and giftedness. Painful though it is, God has ways of moving people from one place to another.I will look forward to hearing about the exciting things that He has planned for you! I am confident that you have a bright future!

  3. Dear mama Cindy,I am so sorry that you lost your job and your Uncle Bill. I will be praying for you and I love you so much! Love, your peruvian daughterIsaiah 40:31.

  4. I'm afraid we are all too familiar with your situation. Eddie's been "let go" 3x now. I know it's hard for both of your situations. The negative/hard emotions of a job loss on top of the grief of a loved one who has left us is a lot to deal with. It was the first time Eddie got the boot that we had just miscarried. A few months later we found out we were pregnant with Erynn. That had the potential for fear to creep in… As much emotion as you are dealing with now, it's a great time to see the LORD. We can usually see HIM most clearly when we are in distress. Look for HIS hand in your situations; it is there. Knowing what I know of you, you will come away with a greater appreciation for HIM and who HE is. And don't forget that what you do does not determine your worth. It's who you are. I believe you are the LORD's funny bone ;o). Love ya.

  5. …and "tear duct!" What a combination!I have seen you shed many a tear for others and the Lord collects those because they are precious to him – evidence of a soft and yielding heart. I have seen you laugh as well when you see the hilarity of a situation God has put you in or before you. I believe as the Body of Christ, we are in a time of shifting and rearranging. This doesn't have to be a bad thing. It may even be a better thing. Many of us may find ourselves being led into a new "field." If our Shepherd leads us, His sheep, into a new field (or new thing), it is because he has his best in mind for us. Rejoice! The Lord is good and His mercy endures forever!

  6. Oh Cindy, I am so sorry for your losses. How precious to know that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills … and then some! 😉 And that He does provide for our needs. He also has a passion for your passion and I can't wait to see where he is going to plug you in!! I pray that the rest of your travel for the funeral is peaceful and full of hope. Our trip to NC just happened to be delayed – we'll be there next week. Still hope to see you? With Love in Christ Jesus~

  7. A commencement of sorts it seems to me. One thing ends, another begins. I bet Lil'Mama will come out on top. And I also bet God is not through with you yet. And by the way, did you make that table runner? It is beautiful!Love you and appreciate all you do everyday!Jenn's Mom ~ Susan

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