On Monday I left my house to travel to work. The last time I did this was 30 September 2016. I had recently started in a new job, one that was meant to be the start of my career in the business world. Prior to that post I worked in a retail store, where I had been for the last six years and really enjoyed. Although I liked it, it seemed that everyone wanted to tell me that I shouldn’t and that I needed to move jobs. After a degree in Marketing, I still didn’t really have an idea of where I wanted to be or what job role suited me best, so I continued getting a lot of hours in retail, whilst also finding the time to crochet in my spare time. So it was a pretty good set up; I was quite happy. That was until I bumped into people I knew who asked me things like when are you getting a proper job?, or my personal favourite so can you just not get a job?. We have this pattern in our culture where we go to school, apply to uni and then get a “proper” job. I remember not being accepted into my university of choice in year 14 and a teacher telling me to just go for something in clearing because apparently it was better to study something I didn’t want to, than apply for my course of choice again next year.
I ignored that bad advice and took a year out before studying Business with Marketing in Coleraine. It was at the start of my final year that I married my wonderful husband and became Mrs Harris. This meant that the first eight months of marriage were extremely busy and I didn’t see Andy much; we were like ships passing in the night. Therefore, when I graduated I wanted to just take a break and not have the stress of moving jobs and having to “prove myself” in a ruthless environment. It’s a funny thing when you are happy with your own setup but the reaction of other people makes you feel bad. I became so embarrassed about my position that I dreaded people asking me where I worked and tried to avoid conversations that were heading in that direction. Don’t get me wrong. By the time I moved jobs I was so ready for it. My time there was up and I wanted to move into something new. It was June 2016 when I “finally” moved jobs and began engaging in those conversations again, as I now worked for a well known company and it sounded good. It carried a good name and people thought I was super smart because of it. However, the reality was that I didn’t feel I needed to be all that smart to do my job and it still had nothing to do with my degree.
So I recently found myself avoiding conversations again, because, how do I explain what I do? I’m not working at the minute. Oh, are you taking a career break? Doing anything fun? Ehh no, not really, just caring for my husband … I hated it! I remember an occasion where a girl was talking to me and my two friends. She had already asked them what they do and I was freaking out as I knew she was coming to me. I subtly asked my friend what do I say? before it was my turn and I vomited out some information about a career break but how I used to work for this big company, as I felt like that didn’t make me look like a waster. Honestly, the view we have of ourselves sometimes is awful and the way we care so much about what other people think really ruins us. I know that people can be mean and we think these things because someone somewhere has asked us in a condescending way if we cannot get a job, when we are currently standing in our place of work. But it is so important that we focus on who God says we are. He tells me that I am loved and that I am His. We see this verse in everyday life and most of us can recite it, even if we don’t know it. ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever trusts in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.’ As I write about the person I was embarrassed to be, I think about this verse that tells me I am loved. It also tells me that you are loved, as I think it is pretty safe to assume if you are reading this, that you are in this world and God so loved the world. I believe that is what He wants you to hear right now, that He loves you and that you are precious in His sight.
I no longer have to tell people that I am unemployed which, (I can’t lie) I am happy about, but not just because I didn’t like saying it, but because I am thrilled to be at the point where I have been able to get back to work. This looks totally different now as I need something a little more practical in my day. The past seventeen months have ruined the way I function; I cannot look at any form of paperwork because I spend my weeks filling out every form known to man and contacting people on Andy’s behalf about things you wouldn’t even think about. Applying for Marketing posts that require full-time hours, hard work and determination are just not possible for me right now. My ability to focus and concentrate on those big things has deteriorated massively as I have been out of the way of it and that generally happens when a trauma has been suffered. Right now I am doing something fun and working with little people in an after school’s club. I also get to work with my friend who is just so lovely and is helping with the transition back into work.
As I prepared myself on Monday morning, I couldn’t help but think of that Friday morning when Andy and I both left for work for the last time. With my new job, we were into a great routine where we both left the house at the same time and that was so good for us as we got to see each other more and he wasn’t raging that I got to stay in bed. It was the first day that we decided to let our new puppy Rollo stay out of his crate in the hallway, until I reminded Andy that FIFA17 was arriving and that he’d probably eat it. That was the last conversation that I could remember when Andy was in ICU and I kept going back to the last messages we sent each other that day. I was being hilarious as usual and had asked Andy if he had text Rollo to see if FIFA had arrived and he replied with “haha I lold at that lol”, I absolutely love when Andy thinks I’m funny so I remember feeling like a champ. I did however forget to reply and at 16.59 he text me “U home yet or wah”.
Andy is very much alive, so its not as if that was the last thing he has ever text or said to me and I’m pretty sure I blogged about the time he text me for the first time in A New Chapter. But that last text message was forty minutes before our lives changed forever. Sometimes I wish I could just have replied and told him to go home a different way or shout at him for coming home on his lunch to change over to his motorbike, but the reality is that I can’t. The reality is that every aspect of our lives changed on Andy’s drive home from work that Friday evening. Sometimes it is so difficult to deal with and the loss of our old life grips us and other times we feel God reassuring us that He is with us in it and that He will use us through our situation.
In my last post I talked about how I was going to catch up on the church service that I missed. Well I did and it was incredible! Dana Masters spoke about obedience and how we don’t always have to like where God has called us to. I would love to write a little more about this in a post soon but I think it is so relevant here when talking about work situations. I am currently so excited for my new post and I am praying that God will use me there and bless this time. But I have previously been unhappy and I wish that I could have told my younger self trust that God had me there for a reason and to work at it with all my heart. If you are currently in that place, I’d like to encourage you to trust God in it and to be kind to yourself.
It has been so strange and a little difficult this week to reflect back on that Friday. There is so much that I’d really just love to change (especially the fact that we had to re-home little Rollo) but we are trusting that He will use us where we are at and thankful for everything that has brought us to where we are today.
“So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead” 1 Peter 1:6