While it is not always easy to accept, life has a way of working out exactly as it is supposed to.
We are oftentimes upset when things don’t work out the way that we want or expect them to.
Relationships end; Sometimes, they refuse to start.
Jobs are lost.
People that we care about are struck by illness, sometimes terminal (twice, in my case.)
That pair of “must have” jeans we saw online are out-of-stock when we finally make it to the actual store.
That pair of shoes doesn’t come in our size (typical for me!)
Yet, I have found that while life can be confusing, frustrating, and sometimes seemingly unforgiving, it has a way of working itself out.
With the people that I have lost came a renewal in my faith.
In the summer of 2015, my best friend, Morgan, passed away from DIPG, a form of terminal brain cancer. We met in 7th grade through my twin sister. We became quick friends, and from middle school on, we were among each other’s greatest support systems. We were exactly what we needed when we needed it.
As for my colleague Gordon, from day one, he had me hooked. I had only worked with him a short while before I grew to see him as a friend and the closest thing I had to family on the East Coast. We talked about travel and books. We talked about our hopes and dreams. We talked about our past and what we hoped to experience and accomplish in the future.
I knew Gordon had battled cancer in the relatively recent past, so I was not neccessarily surprised when he announced that he had relapsed; his Lymphoma had returned. Throughout his battle with cancer, Gordon came into the office as often as his body allowed. Eventually, it became too much for him to walk down the hallway to fill up his blue Cape Cod coffee cup with water.
It was July 2018 when Gordon took his last breath.
I spoke with his wife thereafter, and more than once, she told me that Gordon confided that if he had ever had a daughter of his own, he would have wanted her to be something like me .
It is miraculous that I was comparable to a daughter he wished he had, and that he was the family that I needed.
Contrarily, other people are brought into your life not to be your friend, but to be your teacher. Then again, I suppose that you can learn something from anyone.
I met an old colleague, I’ll call him John, a few months after I started at the company.
While I wasn’t immediately attracted to John, that quickly changed.
It all started with a pair of hot red pepper socks that he gave to me after a conference that he attended in New Mexico….I LOVE funky socks.
From there on out, I was hooked. Now, now, now, while I may seem easy to please (I do tend to like most people!), it was more than the socks that caught my attendtion.
Until John was hired, I handled his territory, making sure that there was a line of communication going for his customers.
Once he was hired, he nominated me for a Bravo award, thanking me for my efforts. While I don’t like to be the center of attention, it was nice to feel like my work ethic was appreciated and noticed, especially by a peer my age.
It wasn’t long before we exchanged numbers and were texting pretty regulary.
Yet, despite the stream of texts between us, something was not aligning when we were in person.
Was it that we were nervous around each other? Was it that we were colleagues and didn’t want to cross any lines? Was it that we really didn’t connect? Was it that one of us liked the other more?
Eventually, the texts stopped and we proceeded to parade around the office, basically paying each other no heed, except for the occasional hello and goodbye or awkward head nod of aknowledgement in the hallway.
This went on for over two years. And it was hell. I hated every minute of it. I kept hoping that things would change, that things would turn around. Maybe we could turn a new page and start afresh. That never happened.
I grew frustrated, even resentful of the way things turned out, often sweating through my clothing on the way into the office out of sheer anxiety.
While I never grew accustomed to our dynamic, eventually, I came to terms with needing to reach outside of my immediate work group to get to know other people.
As time went on, I befriended some of the best people I have had the pleasure of knowing. Not only do they make the work day more tolerable, but they add positivity to my life.
Who knows? Had it not been for the dynamic in my work group, perhaps I would not have become close with the people that I did, and perhaps my old colleague would not be where he is, hopefully happy and finding fullfillment at his new job.
In the moment, experiences of loss, grief, confusion and frustration can make you question life. They can make you question yourself. They can make you question God.
But then you see how each of these experiences has been intricately woven into your web of life, feeding you and breathing air into your lungs, helping you to grow into the person that you are today, and you realize, that amidst all of the confusion, all of the hurt and worry, all of the stress and anxiety, that there is a speck of clarity:
We are a part of something much greater than ourselves.