I’m not even sure where to begin. The day began with a colleague at work quitting, and in the process of doing so, telling one of my superiors that part of the reason she did so is because I’m an “a**hole who never helped her…”. It’s true that part of my many responsibilities at work involve being charged to do so, and by my recollection I tried, but obviously it wasn’t enough, apparently. I keep hearing that you can’t please everybody; yet hope springs eternal, and is eternally dashed. Later, I got word that for the second time in a year (about a year apart), I have been denied what in theory would have been a promotion. In this case it would have been a “promotion” with a pay cut; so there is that. However, I’ll admit I’m disappointed, for sure, very much so even, and maybe a little angry. In both cases the few folks who know best what I do and what my place of employment likely needs felt strongly that I was the best candidate, and in both cases they were overriden by folks who maybe set foot in the building where I work once a year, if that. It’s simply mind boggling.
It’s also ego crushing, of course, especially given the hours I put in and level of dedication I’ve displayed. What’s worse, though, is that all this comes on the heels of so much other heartache, so many other hopes seemingly perpetually dashed. I told Kirsten before all of this happened that I already felt really, really beat up of late. I don’t dare allow myself to feel at all now. The violent imagery I just employed somehow seems apt, because to take it a step further it all just feels like a perpetual assault. When constantly under attack, eventually your defenses wear down, your strength gives out, and then what?
I suppose I’ve just answered my own question, then. If this is an assault, if I am being beaten up, once your defenses give out- if the attacks continue- eventually, well, you die. As a Christ-follower, I know that is what I am called to do- die, die to self, die to my own ambition, pride, even (especially) my own needs- my need to be loved and accepted, to be validated for who I am, to be recognized and treated at least as well as those that are very close to me, by those that are very close to me, at least in proximate terms. I must die to my desire to strike out at those that have hurt me. I must die to my expectation to get something in return for what I’ve given and for what I continue to give. I must die to my desire to be thanked for my efforts, if not rewarded for them. All of this I must do, if I am to more fully take on the image of Christ, of he who died for us “while we were yet sinners.” I guess this is what God has in mind for me right now, for daily I am confronted with opportunities to do so (to die) to a degree that I couldn’t have imagined just a short time ago.
This all reminds of a sermon I preached just eight days before Samuel’s 4 month premature birth. I’ll share that in a separate post.