It has been five years since I have seen or talked to this person. Yet, Sunday, I encountered a ghost from my past.
Pulling into the parking lot at the local grocery store, I spotted a car that she used to drive. Not letting that keep me from shopping, I entered the store and went about my business. On the second aisle, I was behind a lady in baggy jeans with jewels on the pocket. Her hair was long, but shorter than it was at one point when we worked together. And it was streaked with more gray than I remembered before. Even still, I wasn’t sure if that was her since she didn’t turn around.
I went about my business until about three more aisles later, she walked up behind me, as I turned to the side looking for a specific brand of bread, and said, “Shirley, is that you?”
Insert loud GROAN here!
Spinning around on my heels, I exchanged niceties with her. I knew her sole purpose was to be nosey, and it didn’t take her two seconds to inquire, “What are you doing now?” Much like my husband when he doesn’t want to answer something, I repeated her question … mainly so he could hear it since he was nearby. He knows how she is, too.
“What am I doing now?”
“Yes … what are you doing now?”
I hesitated for a moment thinking what I’d really love to say is, “Getting groceries, just like you …” but not wishing to be rude, I also considered, “Riding horses …” as she knows nothing of my interest in or love for horses.
Instead, I looked her in the eyes and responded, “I’m the office manager for a local cemetery and help out at the funeral home.”
She wrinkled her nose and said, “Ugh … do you like it? I don’t think I could work at a place like that.”
To which I promptly responded, “Actually, I do … I love it!”
Obviously that wasn’t the answer she was looking for as she was quick to shut the conversation down after that and go on down the aisle.
I believe she wished for me to be miserable so she could gloat over it, just as she and other previous coworkers did five years ago when I left the agency.
The thing is, I am honestly happy right where I am!
My boss is wonderful now whereas I had a tyrant of a boss previously at the agency.
My coworkers actually help each other and perform tasks as a team, unlike the agency where there was throwing of papers across my desk by other coworkers in their fits of rage toward me. Or, in the case of the ghost from my past, she was a slacker, bragged about how slack she was, and yet my reward was getting to do her work. I’ll never understand that.
My clients appreciate the smile I offer when they walk into my office. They treat me with respect and appreciate my efforts. I design the last gift they can give their loved ones this side of Heaven, and I don’t take that lightly. It is an honor and a privilege to assist the families in this capacity. Even on the funeral home side, I’m helping them in their greatest time of need, when grief is all-consuming for them at times. I sit and listen to their stories, offer my sincere condolences, and some times all they really need is a listening ear and soft heart to let them know you care.
This is the most rewarding job I could ever have.
I’m not some pencil pusher trying to get Medicaid or Insurance claims to go through, practically pulling my hair out when there was a “glitch” in their system. And there seemed to ALWAYS be a “glitch” in their system! I’m not someone who gets abused or bullied on a daily basis as what was happening five years ago at work from my boss and coworkers. I’ll never understand how an agency in the business of helping people would allow this kind of treatment of their employees. It isn’t like they were not made aware of it, either, as I went to the top, except for involving the Board of Directors. However, I was made painfully aware that it didn’t matter what I said because it fell on deaf ears.
The best thing I ever did was get myself out of that unhealthy and toxic work environment.
God provided, just as I knew he would. Just like the bible verse assured me, God had great plans for me. Plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Plans to give me a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11) And He has! Thank you, God, for giving me the courage to get myself out of that bad situation. I had no idea what would come after leaving the agency, but here I am, five years later extremely happy in my position at work, loving life, and looking forward to getting dressed and coming into work.
When you encounter a ghost from your past that really wants to see you failing and miserable, just smile, like I did this weekend. No matter how much they want to see you suppressed so they can gloat over you, hold your head up high and allow God’s goodness to shine forth in your life.