Thursday, February 23, 2012

They Know Not What They Do

Have you ever been thankful for something you didn’t get? I’m not talking about being thankful for not getting a roundhouse kick to the face or not getting food poisoning from the local buffet. I’m talking about not getting something you really wanted — a job, a promotion, a lover — and later being thankful for it.

This is difficult, I know.

About five years ago, I was — how can I put this — “in between” employment. I had been given the “opportunity to seek opportunities wherever the opportunity might be opportune.” It was difficult. Being released by a church made it even worse. What kind of sinner I must have been — and still am.

Being release brought so confusing to my feelings. I felt frustrated, scared, angry, and liberated all at the same time. It eventually became a huge blessing for me, but at the time it didn’t feel that way. With no money coming in, it was more than a little frightening.

I put feelers out immediately to everyone I knew. I needed a gig, preferably a paying one. Almost immediately, I got a call from an editor friend who had a lead.

A religious newspaper in another state was looking for a writer to cover relief efforts by church members in their state. My friend set up a meeting. I showed up loaded down with my resume, writing samples and a million dollar smile — which in today’s economy would only be worth about $637,342.

We met. He seemed to like me and I like that fact that he was willing to give me money to write. After the meeting, he said he would call to let me know for sure but he was almost positive I was the man for the job.

Duh! Of course.

A couple of days later, my phone rang.

“Hello,” I said, while sitting at the mall trying to fill my days by getting out of the house.

“Rodney,” he said, because that was my name, “God has told me you are the right man for this job.”

Sounded like God and I were definitely on the same page.

“I would like to bring you here to meet our board of directors and show you around town,” he continued.

“I can’t wait to come,” I said. My family and I had already been researching the area, looking at schools and homes via the miracle of the Internet — The Source Of All Truth.

“One quick question,” he said, interrupting my celebration in the middle of the mall.

“Okay,” I said.

“Your resume says you went to college but you did graduate right?” he asked.

“Well, no,” I said, “I didn’t finish.”

“Oh I’m sorry,” he said, “That’s a deal breaker.”

“A deal breaker?” I asked myself.  What does that mean? Just a second ago God told you I was the right person for the job and now I’ve taken you — and God — completely by surprise with this latest development?

I can only figure two things happened. 1) God was shaking his head, shrugging and saying, “Hey, I’m with you. I didn’t know either.” Or 2) This guy’s pipeline to the Almighty was clogged with gobbledygook and bull malarkey.

I assumed it was the latter.

I was fuming and hurt. Not just because of what he said but that I didn’t get a job I truly wanted.

Life went on though. A few days later, I got another call about a different job and I’ve now held it down for those five years. I love it.

I don’t know where I would be today if that first guys wouldn’t have been the southbound end of a northbound mule but I probably wouldn’t be here right now. And you wouldn’t be reading this right now. You’re welcome.

I’ve also had the chance to visit the town where I would have moved my family for the job I didn’t get. “I don’t think I would have like living there at all,” is the nicest way I can think of putting it. “This place is the devil’s armpit,” is what I actually said more accurately as I drove through the town last year.

Sometimes things just work out. The universe is working behind the scenes to bring opportunity your way. But it doesn’t always seem that way at the time.

As the great philosopher Garth Brooks once said, “Sometimes, I thank God for unanswered prayer.”

I just want to take a few moments to say a word of thanks to some of those responsible for those unanswered prayers in my life. You don’t even realize what a blessing you are.

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