So what happens when we lose a job? For starters, we come alive again. It is no hyperbole to declare that it can be like coming out of a dark tunnel into blinding sunlight. Once again we feel a part of the entire world – not just the claustrophobic four walls that had been our world previously.
Strangely enough, it can be exhilarating to get fired. As painful as it is, job termination brings with it a species of euphoria: Wow! At last I’m in charge – not someone else! At last, I’m free to do anything I choose to do. I can go wherever I want to go.
If another job does not follow in quick succession, it’s likely that thoughts such as these arise: You know, if I’m unemployed anyway, what do I have to lose if I finally follow that dream I’ve long felt could never be? I wonder if I have it in me to really make it work? So . . . if I really bend my mind to it, is it really possible I could pull off such a miracle?
Time after time, in history, it has been failure that has booted people out of their career ruts into pathways of their own making.
Belatedly, I’ve discovered in life that eventually God has a way of utilizing everything that has ever happened to us. Every success, yes; but more significantly, every failure, every rabbit trail, every dead-end, every box-canyon, every detour, every crack-up, every disappointment, every infliction, every disillusion, every heartbreak – every last bit of it God mixes into the mortar with which we construct our lives. At the end, we discover that God, behind the scenes, much like an elephant-keeper, has followed along behind us, scooping up the messes we leave behind, doing damage control, making the most of our mistakes, and gently herding us toward the light.
In my case, had it not been for my two firings, it’s extremely unlikely the ministry of our books – 71 and counting – would ever have been. And it was only through the resulting anguish that I finally could really empathize with the suffering of others:
“It is only through our own sorrow that we come to understand the sorrow of others, only through our own weakness that we learn to pity the weaknesses of others, and only through our love and forgiveness that we can ever comprehend the infinite love and forgiveness of God.”
– Myrtle Reed, from A Spinner in the Sun