It was several years ago, a sunny, balmy day on the beach. A beautiful vacation with friends. Until the ill-fated phone call.
“Your nonprofit organization will no longer receive state funding. Your grant ends immediately. You will receive no payments as of today.”
To say this was shocking is an understatement. Suddenly, ten years of building was over. Services for victims of violence would cease immediately because staff had to be laid off. I was in shock and inconsolable. I had lost all that I had worked so hard to accomplish. What would we say to our clients? Who would help them when we closed our doors?
The press was asking for comments, but I had no words. All I could muster was silence and a few tears. I was too shocked to really cry. I was too bereft to make any coherent statement to the press or anyone else. Richard Rohr had the spot-on words to describe such a blow.
The pain of something old falling apart — chaos — invites the soul to listen at a deeper level. It invites and sometimes forces the soul to go to a new place because the old place is falling apart. Otherwise, most of us would never go to new places.
So true. I would never have gone to new places. As I look back on the day of my soul’s assault, I can honestly say that I was forced to listen to God at a deeper level. When that old life fell apart, there was something new in my future. Enmeshed in my work, I would never have seen it. I was drowning in my ministry and did not even notice that I was sinking. My health – physically, emotionally and spiritually – was at a low ebb. My friends saw it. I refused to.
In the end, the pain of that loss, the chaos, opened my eyes to a fresh new day. There was a new path ahead, bright and full of promise. As I allowed myself to be comforted, I called to mind one of my favorite scriptures, 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed . . .”