Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Singing and pain

Today was better. Not weepy or painful or self-recriminating (a word I'm not entirely sure I didn't just make up). It seems that the storm has passed for now, and while the skies are not yet clear and blue, they are not nearly so threatening.

They had a little "Goodbye" party for me at work today. It was a sweet gesture, but it was also somewhat maddening in that everyone is acting like I am leaving my job because some wonderful opportunity opened up for me and I am going on to better things. The reality is that things simply got so bad for me at my job that I essentially had no job left, and felt I had no choice but to leave. This is hardly the way I envisioned this job ending.

But, things are what they are, and I am making progress in accepting that. I realize that my coworkers most likely will never understand what I have been through, because they have not had the things perpetrated against them such as I have experienced at the hands of my supervisor. I realize that they probably cannot really understand at all why I have chosen to leave when I have no job lined up and no solid plans for what I'm going to do next. I guess I can't really expect them to understand, all things considered.

I have been putting my thoughts together for what I would like to share in my exit interview. Throughout this process, I have recalled a few small victories I have had in my advocacy for consumers. When I recall those things, I realize, my time at this job was not in vain. Even if I only made a difference in one or two lives, it was a difference that would not have been made if I had not been there.

When I think about walking out of there tomorrow and leaving behind these consumers I have grown to care about, I do feel sad. There is one particular consumer who has come incredibly far in the time I have known them. I asked that person today what they would do when I left, and they responded, "Oh God, I don't even know." That made me sad. I told them they had to be strong, they had to speak up for themselves, and they needed to ask questions if they thought they were not being treated right. I told them that, between us, I had to admit that I would probably miss them most of all, because of all the storms we've weathered together in fighting for their rights. I pray that they will continue to be strong. I guess this is the part where I have to let go, and trust that they will walk forward in all we've learned together over the years.

That is a scary thing...letting go of the ones I have worked with the closest, trusting that once I am not there anymore, they will be able to stand on their own. It is hard to consider the possibility that maybe they are not strong enough for that, and they will allow themselves to be mistreated. I hope my fears are proven needless, and I am wonderfully surprised by these people.

As far as what happens next...I don't know. I am applying for a job at a local factory, just to get by for the summer. In the fall, I have classes I plan to take, though I am wondering how I will do it. I know my limitations, and I know I cannot handle full time work and full time school without going full time over the edge. But, it is in God's very capable hands. He will work out the perfect plan for me, and I still remain very confident that this is all going to turn out much better than I dare even imagine right now.

Thank you to those who have been praying. I am being carried by those prayers right now.

A lot can happen in a summer - I'll pray for that.

I'll also pray they find another Stephanie for your people, even if they aren't looking for one. Someone who loves Jesus and loves people.

self-re·crim·i·na·tion, n.
The act or an instance of blaming or censuring oneself.
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