About this time yesterday I was plunged into a pretty dark place. I’m not going to get into a lot of specifics, but it was a pretty major setback in my professional life. After finding out that people had been going out of their way to keep it from me for weeks, I was then told that I need to be more willing to go out of my way to exalt myself and throw people who are under me under the bus if I want to get ahead.
I felt devastated. The fact that some people that I count as friends had gone to great lengths to conceal what was happening from me made me feel even worse, it made me feel that slash of betrayal. It’s as if someone plunged a knife into my back, and when they removed it I felt only ice cold and dead.
I didn’t know what to say. I went from crying to fits of blinding rage and back again in mere seconds. It was a feeling of totally being cut loose from your anchor, of being unhinged. I needed to lash out, I needed to know “why.”
Well the answers you get to that question never really satisfy, do they?
And I refuse to take credit for things I don’t do and throw the people that I’m responsible for under the bus. If that’s a problem for others, so be it. I would rather maintain my integrity than get ahead by stomping on the heads of others.
I’m strangely fortunate though, I realized. Immediately I had friends and family, some from pretty far away, come alongside me to offer support and comfort. Within minutes I had calls, texts, and tweets from the people I consider to be the most important people in my life expressing their sympathy and telling me to keep my head up.
That was comforting last night when I was in the immediate moment, but as I sat early this morning and did my Lenten discipline and prayed, God really laid it on my heart. I may have had a couple of friends that betrayed me, but I have so many more to be with me and help me heal the wounds. I am so thankful for that.
I also have my faith. I must admit, in the past I would turn and rage at God in a moment like this, but I didn’t feel like that this time. Instead, as morning turned to afternoon today, I really began to feel a presence. The presence of a man who was also betrayed by his friends, of a spirit who is able to kindle a new fire within me and turn despair and setbacks into experience and growth.
Not that it’s going to be easy. Not that it makes everything ok. Not that it makes it hurt any less. But maybe, just maybe the pain is temporary. Just maybe a new door will be opened where one has been closed.
I have to trust. I have to believe that there is something better on the way and try to make it happen. To know that I have my family, friends, and faith on my side will help me move on.
One step at a time.
This, Psalm 130, has been on my mind today. Here is the Psalm itself, followed by a song based on it that I really love.
From the depths of despair, O Lord,
I call for your help.
Hear my cry, O Lord.
Pay attention to my prayer.
Lord, if you kept a record of our sins,
who, O Lord, could ever survive?
But you offer forgiveness,
that we might learn to fear you.
I am counting on the Lord;
yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word.
I long for the Lord
more than sentries long for the dawn,
yes, more than sentries long for the dawn.
O Israel, hope in the Lord;
for with the Lord there is unfailing love.
His redemption overflows.
He himself will redeem Israel
from every kind of sin. (Psalm 130 NLT)