In 2009 I was fired from an organization I had served for eleven years—working my way up to Vice President. Part of me was angry, indignant, and ready to fight. That isn’t the story though. Those are mundane human emotions, not particularly interesting. But, how I was held—bathed, rather—in the light through this tough time is a much better story.
A week before I was fired my boss confronted me with her belief that I had damaged our organization. She sent me home and told me when I returned on Monday to bring her a letter sharing what I had done wrong and how I would improve.
This was pretty devastating to my Type-A personality, but the beauty of this story is that it never was my agenda; it was always God’s plan. Because there is a universal intelligence with plans way ahead of my own, we had scheduled a visit to a nearby abbey that weekend. There, I cried, I prayed, and I kept asking my husband, “How do I write this letter?”
But I knew how—forget explanation or justification; instead offer your honesty. The letter I ended up writing was truly the Light in me pouring out onto paper. I shared what was in my heart, and although writing a letter to defend accusations that were unfounded seemed punitive, the process I went through to write it was healing. In the letter was a line that promised I would strive to do my best in the future even in the midst of difficult tasks and weighty responsibilities. I borrowed it from an oath in Scouting. At the time I didn’t know what an important part of my life Scouting would become, but the line resonated then and does even more so today.
A week later I was called into another meeting and fired. My boss explained that when she read my letter, although she didn’t doubt my sincerity, my line about striving to do my best even in the midst of challenging tasks and weighty responsibilities confirmed for her that I was no longer dedicated to our organization. As I look back on that meeting, and how calm I felt—as she shut the door on eleven years of my hard work—I recognize how I was held through that day and the days that followed.
Feeling a little shocked, I called my husband and gave him the news. Later that night when I shared what my boss had said about the scouting line, it was as if all the windows were suddenly thrown open and the Light poured in. Instantly Stephen said, “You were fired because of a line from the Scout Oath—Kaleen, this is fantastic! How often in our lifetimes do we get a sign of God so clearly at work? Tonight we should open our best bottle of wine and celebrate how easy this transition was made for you.” And we did!
For me, what was so remarkable about this experience was how apparent God’s activity was in my life through a time that felt miserable and scary, and the beautiful way he softened and opened me through struggle and loss to prepare me to receive greater future blessings than I could ever imagine.