I always look forward to my end-of-the-fiscal-year performance evaluation. I like to think of this as an extended Examen of the past year. It is a crucial opportunity for giving thanks, celebrating successes, reviewing areas for growth, and looking ahead to the coming year.
There was much to be grateful for this past year, and I also knew there was a lot of room for growth. But there was something else going on, too. After 10 years in my current role, I was beginning to wonder if there was something more that I could be doing. I had that aching feeling that a significant change was on the horizon. My heart was striving for what Ignatius describes as magis—something greater.
What I had hoped would be a fruitful conversation about new projects and possibilities was instead met with a very different set of circumstances. I walked into my boss’s office last week only to be greeted by a formal letter announcing my termination. I knew there were budget constraints; our team had been notified earlier in the year that staff cuts might be a possibility. We’ve all known someone who’s been in this situation, and now that someone is me.
Where does one find God in the midst of economic downturn and unanticipated change? Even in the midst of sadness, anger, and disbelief, I see God everywhere! I know the face of God in unimaginable kindness from coworkers, numerous suggestions for job leads, two unsolicited offers for career coaching, and countless invitations to lunch. Clearly, there is something more at work here.
Most surprising, I have been met with an unmerited and extravagant amount of peace. At a time when most people would be panicked and afraid, my heart knows that this is exactly the place I am supposed to be. It is a peace that I can only describe as coming from the heart of Christ. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. (John 14:27)As I now follow the Examen back over 10 years of gratitude, learning, growth, change, new friendships, and fond memories, I am confident and hopeful that God will take all of this and create something new, something more, something greater than I could ever imagine on my own.
Join in 31 Days with St. Ignatius by reading today’s entry, A Change of Preposition.
Harry in the midst of desperation is when we must trust in God. It is the strength of our faith that will help us during life’s trials. Beth reminds us of our Lord’s words: “I do not give to you as the world gives.” Her post is not glib, it is a reminder that our faith can conquer our fears.
Having been in your shoes, I encourage you to push against the fear to see the options God is presenting to you. Trust in Him who laid down his life to set us free.
Gratitude daily(examen), weekley, monthly and yearly on my birthday will be my new resolution.So help me god.
Harry has a valid point; unemployment is a major challenge for anyone.
I am reluctant to claim that I am an expert on unemployment; however, I have been terminated/laid off three times in my career. I will be sixty this year.
The first time that I was terminated in 1992 was the worst. It was the worst because I was still invested in the American myth that my worth as a person was tied to my career. The subsequent two bouts with unemployment were easier because I viewed these challenges as problem-solving exercises rather than an indication of my personal failings.
Beth’s positive attitude sustained by her faith will be a crucial factor in finding employment. Beth, positive energy is infectious. Continue to radiate that energy; remember, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father, and even the hairs on your head are all counted; so do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Writing this post immediately after your separation from service is a disgrace a true disservice to your readers. Write it again in a year when you are still out of work, can’t put food on the table for your children and your house is in foreclosure. Let’s see if you have the same glib tone then when you realize your Faith doesn’t pay bills or feed starving children and all your Church offers is prayers.
An extraordinary post. Thank you. Many blessings on your new path.