One of my favorite songs is By your side by Tenth Avenue North. I was listening to it this morning
Early in the song I felt this overwhelming feeling of guilt and shame. Tears began rolling down my face. Couldn't figure out why. So I laid down on my bed and just felt this overpowering feeling of sadness and failure. Then it hit me
I was in healthcare finance much of my adult life. Operations Management mainly. I had a great job at a local Level 1 Trauma center working for the physicians group. As tends to be my experience I enjoy the non profit nature but it also makes managing slightly more difficult.
I left that job after 2 years when I was recruited to run a very large, national Radiology billing organization. Things started off really well, my boss, who I had never met, came back from maternity leave after about 3 months. It was an oil and water mix. She was more concerned with appearances I was more interested in team building, loyalty and results...which in my short 3 months had been phenomenal. She clearly and in front of others did not care for me. She used to meet w/my managers in private so anyone in the business world should see the issue(s).
She said some unbelievable things to me. Things that would get a guy fired. I don't want to rehash all of this but lets just say I could have easily handled this by going to her boss and saying "Hey I know you have invested a lot of money in me. I know you are happy with my results (He told me that all the time) but this relationship isn't working out. I'd like to stay and I know you would like me to stay but that will require a switch in who I report to."
I chose a different route. I tried very hard to please her but never did. Compliments from her were rare and often clouded with a negative attitude. In my 15 years I had never seen a worse manager. Turnover was unbelievably high under her.
It all blew up 4 month later. She had done something that was over the limit. She had sat on the edge of my desk trapping me. She grabbed my shirt by the shoulder and shook it while saying :Is this one of your new outfits? It doesn't fit well."
I was mortified. For a brief second I clearly understood how women feel in a situation like that. The entire story is early in my blog
Every day I would drive to a private spot and eat lunch and listen to music. And Pray and pray. "Dear God I know I can't quit or it will destroy my family" including the morning I quit, I had prayed on the way in. In retrospect I felt (Probably not true) that I would be fired (As I always struggled with)
Even when I quit I knew it wasn't God's fault. He allows us each freedom of choice. If you pray he will answer...but in his way and at his time. I was still angry. I thought you answered prayer. How could this happen.
For the next 7 months I hated everyone and everything. I sat in my bedroom, angry. I would wake up angry in the middle of the night. Lived off a retirement fund I cashed in (real smart Michael). When the money ran out I went back to work as a waiter (Quite a difference I realize) That led to another explosion, a walk out and finally a diagnosis.
This last year I feel like my relationship with God, while not perfect, has improved. I think I was/am a little mad still. Of course I also felt abandoned in my greatest time of need. Why. Why? Dammit Why! I must have done something to be in God's doghouse.
As is normally the case, I pretty quickly realized that I had, once again, turned to God in my time of need and guilt always sets in, why do you draw closer at those times? Surely God must be upset that you again tried to run your own life.
When will I learn. When will I learn? When will I learn!
I have occasionally accused God of breaking his promise not to give us more than we can handle. Why have you left me when I needed you most? So...Dear God can we make this journey a little less painful?
Then I realized he had. I have such wonderful people in my life. Both in person and online. I am my own biggest enemy. As I said earlier in my blog I have become afraid to learn who I am and express who I am. Gun shy.
Then I realized something else. It's ok to need God in your brokenness and come running to him regardless of what you have done. I believe he uses these times of pain specifically with the intent that he draws you in. He allows your brokenness and pain to give you the very avenue that the enemy tries to make you feel guilty using or like you have used all your chances up. Grace is never ending though.
He knows far in advance of what we need, whether we seek it correctly but he always lets us choose. Someone once told me that it doesn't matter which fork in the road you take as God can meet you whichever path you choose.
He allowed this to happen because I think as painful as my life is now, he knew that it would bring the diagnosis and a great therapist. I am not sure any other therapist could have reached me then, other than Jess. Her patience and support, her willingness to allow me to explore what works best for me. Her desire to learn from me as much as helping me. My new therapist I really like and hope it goes well.
I have a burning passion to help others. To fight all stigma but also the stigma that Men face. I hope you enjoy the song, there is a specific part that really gets me.
Why are you still searching
As if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run
'Cause I'll be by your side wherever you fall
In the dead of night whenever you call
And please don't fight these hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you