The beginning in the end

In 2004, William Bridges wrote Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes. The subject of the book is exactly what it seems to be; Bridges explores the changes we experience in life and how we tend to handle them. During the course of the book, Bridges suggests that before there can be a beginning, there must be an ending. In other words, something old has to stop before something new can begin. Thus the title of this post, "The Beginning in the End." And also, if you're a fan of the TV show Bones - I am - then you recognize it as a nod to the 22nd episode of the fifth season. In that episode, nearly everyone who worked together at the Jeffersonian scatters for the four corners of the earth. It is the end (seemingly) of a very successful team and partnership.

I started working at Cherokee Church in 2009. It was another beginning in an ending. My 18 year marriage was dissolving and I needed full-time work to support my kids. In order to come to Cherokee, I had to release a wonderful position that had sustained me and helped me grow both personally and professionally. I have worked for the church for over six years, through three different pastors and a host of crazy difficulties and challenges. In 2015, Cherokee Church became Cokesbury Church, and more challenges and difficulties ensued. Change is the mode of the day now. However, by the end of next week, it won't matter to me anymore. The time is growing short. My last day will be January 15th, 2016. This time, the ending is not of my choosing. Fate has stepped in; my position is being eliminated due to the changing landscape of the church itself, which has resulted in a funding crisis. I found out that my job was being phased out on December 16th, just six weeks after going back to full-time status with the church, and after quitting my other part time job so I could focus on the important one. Needless to say, the irony has not escaped me.

Now, here we are in a new year. Just before Christmas, I found out that I'm about to be jobless. I have a chronic illness, and in less than a month, I will be without health insurance. Specialist visits are expensive, and I need to see my rheumatologist every six weeks, and each visit costs more than $400. My medication costs over $2000 a month. A person I care about replied, when I told her about my job loss, that I would likely end up on welfare, that she didn't know what I would do, and that I really shouldn't have told her because it would just make her worry. Maybe she's right - maybe I should be terrified, worried sick about the future, in a welter of anxiety and fear.

I'm not. I have a rational level of concern, of course. I'm putting in job applications and looking for other opportunities. I had an interview on Friday and have two more pending tomorrow. I don't know what will happen, but I am at peace with this change. I loved my job and I worked hard for the church. People think that working for the church is easy, but the truth is I have never been more stressed by a job. I won't enumerate the difficulties, but I know that my former coworkers and anyone else who is in ministry will understand. After over a year of questioning whether it was time to move on, it is good to know where I am and that it is time to let go.

I don't know what comes next, but one thing I did learn from working within the church is that God can be trusted. Right now, I'm trusting God that something good is coming. I am looking forward to seeing what kind of beginning this end will bring.


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