I write sometimes on the Facebook page for this blog, and for whatever reason that was the space where I decided to put words to my complicated feelings about losing my job a couple of months ago.
So, this is the beginning of that story in 2 Facebook posts:
#1 – March 21, 2016
It’s been more than a month since I’ve put any kind of words on the internet that weren’t reduced to a 140 character tweet. Because there’s safety in 140 characters. I can share snippets, the good stuff. The funny things my friends have said. Or the photo of my nephew in the fort of couch cushions, or my niece in her Minnie Mouse dress.
You can’t deal with the hard stuff in 140 characters. The hard stuff deserves more than that.
So, okay. Here it is:
A little over a month ago, I was called into my HR office early on a Wednesday morning and I was let go from my position as a social media specialist. I guess technically I was “downsized,” but when you’re reorganized right out of your job, technically is hogwash. The reality is that I was fired.
When one of my friend’s mom’s heard what happened her reaction echoed my own: “What?! Amber doesn’t get fired!”
Amber doesn’t get fired. And yet she was. On a Wednesday morning in the middle of February. And Amber is still dealing the emotional aftermath of all of that.
Although, really, before you ask, I’m doing okay. Really and truly. My head is mostly above water, and I’m getting out of bed every morning. I’m eating regularly, and I’m sleeping about as well as I was when I had a job. So, you know, lots of victories there.
And also, I’m not worried that it’s not going to be okay.
I came to Grand Rapids as an act of faith. I came because my prayers and the prayers of my best people led us all to the same point of clarity – it was time for me to get up and follow God to a new place. I still believe that.
In the first couple of weeks I was in my job, one of my co-workers who has since become the pastor of my soul and a friend in the realest ways, said, “You know, I think you’re in Grand Rapids for a reason, but I don’t think it’s for this job.”
Of course, two weeks into a job I really loved, I didn’t want to hear that. Six months since then, I’m thinking it was more than a little prophetic.
I don’t know what comes next. I’m in some kind of vocational middle. Again.
And it’s just whatever, man. Because I absolutely will not let this be a reason for me to distrust God’s good hand. I absolutely will not let this be a reason for me to give up on church or ministry or the way that God has called us to take care of each other.
I will not let this be a reason to give up on the vision of creating a community online and in the world for people who are in the middle – the middle of a faith crisis, the middle of vocational change, the middle of a struggling marriage, the middle of a lot of questions, the middle of confusion, the middle of doubt.
Most of life is a middle.
And those of us in the middle, we’re a tribe. Each and every one of us.
So, okay. Let’s help each other through it. Let’s offer patience and encouragement to the middle. Let’s text and call and pray for each other.
Because if I have learned only one thing in the last month, it’s this: when you have a tribe and Jesus, you have everything.
#2 – March 22, 2016
The responses to my post yesterday have been so kind, and I’m as always am, so grateful for you people. You people who keep hanging with me in the messy middles, who keep thinking the words I have to share are good ones, who keep telling me to just keep writing.
I was talking to the BFF yesterday for a hot minute and I asked her a couple of the questions I have about this middle place. I asked her if writing from the middle was okay really, because I don’t know what I think about a lot things right now. I said, “I’m committed to writing from the place of the here-and-now of what God and I are working through, but I don’t have clarity. I have questions and prayer and my people. That’s all I’ve got.”
To which the BFF said only, “What’s wrong with that?”
Of course, the answer is that there’s nothing wrong with that. Faith is, I think, a fluid thing. It adapts and changes as our experiences with church, ministries, each other, and the world adds layers of complexity to our understanding of God. It would be silly then to think that anyone is ever going to have all the answers, and it seems to me that it would silly to pretend that any writer worth respecting is writing NOT from the middle of their own faith life.
But I say that knowing full well that there are things of which we can be certain.
I can be certain that God is good and loving. I can be certain that he is faithful, and that means he’s caretaking me through this messy middle. I can be certain even in the darkest moments there is going to be someone or something that inspires hope in my ugly, cynical heart. I can be certain that gratitude and grace are the wagons I want to hitch myself to even as the bottom falls out.
And I can be certain, thanks to you people who keep showing up in the messy middles, that there are more cheerleaders and encouragers and peacemakers in the world than there are not.