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Lately there has been something weighing heavily on my heart. And I keep thinking I want to post about it – but then I struggle with how to put it into words so as not to sound too negative and judgmental. If you follow my blog – you may have heard some of this before – but read on, some of it is new.
I suppose we all reflect on similar things as we get older. Maybe when we mature we start looking at life through different eyes. I struggle to put into words the things that come to mind in a manner that won’t sound like generations before me – ‘this world is going to hell in a hand basket’ or ‘this generation is so ________’ (you fill in the blank). You know what I mean – we’ve all heard those types of statements from parents and grandparents.
However, I do not believe this is the same as the generations before me. I have always been able to take what is thrown at me and I can handle change – even when I don’t like the change. So I don’t feel like I’m stuck in the past or anything of that nature. As a matter of fact, I’m the one who is usually helping others to transition into what’s new or different.
Maybe my problem is that I hold people to a high standard. I always have. And yes, I am often disappointed or hurt because of that standard. People are people and don’t we all fall short? So what am I rambling about you ask? It is how people treat each other these days. Our society seems to have lost compassion for one another.
We have kids killing kids. We have people being picked on (now called bullied) to the point of suicide. We have people hating each other for no reason. What happened? Some of it is that we did it to ourselves. Don’t you think? We have raised a generation (or two) who believes that they should be made comfortable at all times. They should get what they want, when they want and you better not make them work for it either. They expect it to be their way or the highway.
I believe that is why no one is allowed to say or do or think for themselves anymore. No one is allowed to compete. No one is allowed to joke around or have fun – because after all, we might ‘offend’ some group of people. And I believe that is why there are so many jumping on the bandwagon to accuse others of saying discriminatory or slanderous things. It’s like people are just waiting to pounce on every little thing – maybe because there is no adrenaline rush anymore – after all, everyone gets a blue ribbon whether they work hard or not. There is no sense of accomplishment and the thrill of competition is non-existent – so let’s find something to do….hey look – that person said the ‘R’ word! Let’s get him! Without logically considering the context in which things are being said – people want to get a rush from attacking.
And then there are situations such as my former employer. I’ve touched on it a few times but have not gone in depth. This is – no, was a place of love and caring for others. The sole purpose of this establishment was to help those in need while allowing them to maintain dignity. It was to show God’s love – to be His hands and feet in the community. That is why I applied to work there – I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. That is why everyone I worked with was there too. We shared that same desire. Regardless of the lower pay scale – those who worked there chose the blessings of improving the lives of the less fortunate over money in their own pockets.
In all my years in the corporate world, I have never worked with such an awesome group of people! I’ve never seen so many people willing to put so much energy and everything they have into their work. As mentioned, the pay was very low – and yet people stayed because of that love for others. There were times when paychecks didn’t come on time. There were times when benefits were taken away. There were even times when pay was taken back for a period of time….and yet we stayed.
However, as the years progressed there was a group of individuals outside of the agency who couldn’t stand not having their hands in the middle of it all. They simply would not leave things alone. Slowly this outside entity started creating a different atmosphere into our agency. I started seeing some of the meanest and cruelest actions by people who claimed to be Christians. To this day I am amazed at the arrogance of this group (I am calling them a group rather than a specific church as I do not wish to label or lump any particular group of people together). I am surprised at how these people would look you in the eye and tell you that that they strive to show God’s love and at the same time – stab you in the back. Possibly I’m being naïve. Maybe it’s because I live in the so-called bible belt….but I’m not so sure because I have actually lived all over the country and never experienced anything like this.
Their arrogance and interference led to an upheaval in our agency. People became stressed. They were hurt. Negativity permeated the entire environment. Very few of us were happy. No one could trust anyone else. The gossip mill was rampant. However, because of our desire and our love for the agency and the people – many of us tried to stick it out. We assumed it was a cycle that would eventually go away. Don’t get me wrong, there were problems before any of this took place – there are always issues anywhere you go. Nothing is perfect. But even with the shortcomings, one can tell the difference between people who truly are trying their very best and those who are trying to undermine the entire operation for their own greedy reasons.
Through those years, I watched the head of the group treat his second-hand man like dirt in front of others. I remember being appalled and shocked that someone could be so openly cruel. I eventually lost all respect for this person and honestly that religious group as a whole. There was once a very loving and caring person who stepped in as an Interim Director – just to help out until a permanent replacement was found. His sweet little wife was very ill. It didn’t take but a few minutes talking with him to know just how much he loved his wife. He was the picture of how you hope your own marriage would be. But before long, this ‘group’ was pushing him to do more and more in the church – to the point that the head told him that he should be picking his service to the church over the needs of his wife. Kudos to him – he told them what they could do with the whole thing!
Let me be clear – I don’t mean that I believe all people of this faith are bad. What I mean is that for whatever reason there are those who have this idea that they are all-powerful and that they can do whatever they please. They are out to gain whatever they think will advance them to the next level and they don’t care who they stomp on in the process. Harsh words – I never thought I would say….but I have felt this way for several years as I’ve watched how people are used and then thrown away when no longer useful.
When I finally decided to leave – I was completely burned out. When we hear of people getting burned out – the picture in my mind is that they are tired, exhausted and bored with whatever they are doing to the point that it is time to stop. I also assumed that once they change environments all is well again. Not the case here. And since I’ve visited with others who have also left since my departure – I know they have gone through the same process. I believe that it is because we put so much of ourselves into that place.
It has been a very long healing process – one that I am still recovering from to this day. It’s like coming out of a very dark, ugly place into the sunlight. You don’t quite know what to do. You don’t feel you fit in – you don’t feel like you know how to react to or with others. You jump in startled reaction to the simplest things because you know that had you been back at the other place – man, you would have been in trouble big time! It’s similar to being in an abusive mental/emotional relationship. We have had to learn that it’s okay to be happy again. It’s okay to not fear others and believe that they are out to get you. Eventually you figure out that you no longer have to second-guess the motives of every little thing.
Since my leaving, I have been surprised but pleasantly honored to have many of my former coworkers seek me out for friendship and/or counsel on how to handle things that are still going on in that place or once they have moved on to another. My heart aches for all those still there. Since I am in the Human Resource field, I have made it a personal mission of mine to seek job openings and post announcements on my FB page just so those who are considering a change will have information should they wish to apply.
For a time, I found myself angry. I was angry for the way my friends/former coworkers are being treated. How they have been lied to. I was angry because I heard from multiple people that I and others who have since left have been thrown under the bus over and over again. Yes, I know that is a typical thing whenever a person leaves – they are then blamed for everything wrong. But this is more than that. It is announcements or open discussions being made in group meetings that are inappropriate. Private and confidential things are being aired to others who have no need to hear it. They are assumptions and discussions by the so-called leaders of the agency who know absolutely nothing about what took place prior to them or why decisions were made. And honestly I have always worked diligently to be honest, trustworthy and reliable in my work. I worked hard to gain the trust and appreciation of the members of the board – only to have the so-called leader now tell lies about me/us.
Forgiveness. I know, I know. I am to forgive. And I believe I have – and I don’t hold grudges….but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t sting. And more than my concerns for my own professional reputation are my concerns for those who are still trying to survive in that deceitful environment. I pray regularly for those folks. I pray that doors will be opened for all of them to move on. I also pray that the community soon learns the real truth about what is going on in that place. It’s no longer serving the community as it was created to do many years ago.
I guess what I’m getting at is that my heart hurts for the state of our society as a whole. Yes, yes I will acknowledge there are many, many good and caring people still out there. Heck, I consider myself one of them. But I almost feel we are being overrun with negative, hurtful individuals who no longer have the compassion. It got lost somewhere along the way. And is starts early – check out this post about bullying – it is very touching.
Seems like we need more positive, good stories in the headlines. Let’s bring back to light what we are all here to do. We are to share and show God’s love – aren’t we? Let’s help remind others of the good in people. It does rub off, you know. Let’s teach our kids to be good people again – but that it doesn’t mean being a doormat.
I wonder what it would be like to have a news program that focused on GOOD uplifting stories instead of all of the crisis and negativity the world? I don’t mean that we should stick our heads in the sand….but how about a better balance of news, ya know? Just a thought……………