To begin. I know this story will not be for everyone. It is a story of a simple trial. There are SO many going through far worse than I. I am sharing this for any needing encouragement in their own simple trials. If this story annoys you, then it isn't for you. This is -of course- my own perspective.
About two years ago a friend asked me to work in her husbands office. It was such different work than anything I had ever done. I turned down the offer multiple times. They assured me that all would be well. I finally accepted and I worked hard to learn my new job. Training took me out of my areas of comfort. But as I settled into the job I found a natural fit. I focused on some reorganizing of the product we carried, making sure the inventory was varied and correctly listed in the control software. I interacted well with the customers helping them in selection and adjusting for a perfect fit.
I was loving my job. I worked hard. I found that working for friends created an emotional attachment. I always wanted to take care of them. To stay longer, work harder and not skip corners.
The first year we had an office manager and I really enjoyed my work. Eventually the manager was let go and my friend stepped in. She had a hovering management style that was difficult. The wonderful ladies I worked with were unable to comfortably do their jobs and it created a hostile work environment. Tension was building and lots of words were said before our new managers daily arrival.
I knew this was her office, her livelihood and I would defend that. But day after day I heard my friends and co-workers complain of feeling unappreciated and their hard work being minimized. Finally, a day came when she sat down to see why I organized my jobs tasks in such a way. I was stretched thin and constantly hearing my co-workers complaints against my friend. Knowing that nothing any of us did would be right by her, I finally answered honestly. I turned to my friend hoping we could really talk and reset this bad path that we were all on.
In the end I offended her ego and I was given the choice to leave. I did so, knowing things would only get worse if I stayed.
I left that day aware that our friendship was over. I had seen a true side of her and I lost all the respect that six years of friendship had built. Some council I received was "The worth of souls is Great" and to remember that when I see her. I have to admit this didn't set comfortably with me. I know it to be true, but what about my worth? Wasn't it great too? And my soul hurt. I did find comfort in a talk by Boyd K Packer where he says that forgiving others does not mean you need to put yourself in an old situation for old hurt feelings.
Now the real challenge was about to start. Our families had been very close. We are neighbors and ward members. Our sons were like brothers. Our daughters were close. These kids were always looking out for each other.
Their kids were told "Mom had to work more because I had quit". So the kids looked at me like I had ruined their life and started saying mean things under their breath to my children.
I knew that the office had a fantastic staff that could do the work. The reason "mom had to work more" was out of fear the job could be done without her. She chose to constantly be at work.
Thus, starting the barrage of mean thoughts from me.
I was trying to make sense of what had happened. I have been re-playing that previous year and a half over and over. I couldn't sleep at night or I would wake up burning inside with all the things I wish I could say swirling in my brain. I quickly found others who had been through similar experiences with this person, allowing me to confirm my feelings and justify all my mean thoughts.
For a couple of months I did this. I wanted to. I have tried to shut down feeling in the past only to have them explode later. So I told my friends "I know I am handling this poorly right now, but I want to be angry, I want to feel what I feel for now. I'll get over that and rebuild soon."
I truly want to learn from this experience. I am trying to figure out what I did wrong. Honestly, I trusted my friend, and I didn't say no to the job one last time. But then, I Love what I learned. I was good at my job. I hope desperately that I can find work in that field again and soon.
As for forgiveness.
Maybe I am not truly there yet, but I feel like what happened, happened. So be it. I am moving on. What I am dealing with now is hurt feelings. The closeness that was built up no longer has value. Feeling like six years of friendship meant nothing. I haven't spoken to her since. At first it was "If you can't say anything nice...". Now it's because of that lack of respect. I have nothing left for her. Our friendship has run it's course. Maybe over time this will soften, but for now I am not better with her, I'm not worse without her.
Going to church is very hard. I have to see her and (it feels like) she acts like she has it all together, like she did nothing wrong. She speaks to my daughters like she will help them through their mothers break down. That's when I just want to scream out all the mean words in my head.
My whole family was struggling to prepare for church. I didn't want to go. My children didn't either. My husband was making a valiant effort. Finally one day with about 10 minutes left, I stood up and said "We go to church for us and for God. We are only hurting ourselves. So Me and my house, we will serve the Lord!"
So now it is time to move forward. And I am. I am moving forward to serve the Lord.
I was feeling so low; my heart hurt and my soul was dark. I was not living the life I wanted. I looked around myself to see where I was now and realized -I am Home (such a warm, comforting word). I'm home with a husband who loves me. I'm home with beautiful children who think I'm a good Mom. I am home, surrounded by hugs and I was creating sorrow. It was time to stop and live for where I am today.
I started with a prayer, not complaining about the past. But a real prayer, telling God of my hurt and my desire to break free of it. I took time to meet with my bishop. He gave me good council. I wrote to my spiritual-giant-brother who sent wonderful, motivating words. I returned to the scriptures taking my brothers suggestion to use the wonderful BYU scripture discussions as a support. My beloved sisters in law sent me encouraging conference talks and emails. I try to go to the temple more often. I started walking each morning with my dearest friend. I started taking advantage of opportunities to have lunch with my sister and those who were making sure I remembered what a friend was.
Almost more importantly, I started to make meal menus again. I started cleaning and organizing my home. I started to enjoy my free time talking to, laughing with and hugging my amazing children. I started taking advantage of my time with my wonderful husband. I have started putting my house in order.
I put up all of my Christmas decorations knowing we needed the boost of holiday spirit. We attended many of the holiday events. Concerts, Crèche displays, and lights.
Church is still hard. I do well all week then sink low on Sunday's. I know that is not how it should be. Part of my discussion with my bishop was requesting a change in job so I can be learning more. I start teaching a class this week. I am working to change my focus and give more of myself back to the ward because I know you get out of things what you put into them.
I know there are lessons for me. I am gaining a testimony of turning my pain over to my Savior and his atonement.
I am grasping at anything that fills my soul at this time. Something that sang to me was from an Ensign article given by Elder Richard G Scott. He says "I am convinced that there is no simple formula or technique that would immediately allow you to master the ability to be guided by the voice of the Spirit. Our Father expects you to learn how to obtain that divine help by exercising faith in Him and His Holy Son, Jesus Christ. Were you to receive inspired guidance just for the asking, you would become weak and ever more dependent on Them. They know that essential personal growth will come as you struggle to learn how to be led by the Spirit."
The mean words are not coming as often, and when they do I say a prayer that they can go away. I know I do not want the next year to feel like the past one. I know that is up to me to guard my thoughts and attitude. I am definitely not "through" this but I am working at it. I really know I can't do it alone and I think I have tried to handle too much in my life by myself for far too long. This time I am turning myself over to Gods guidance.
Another quote I recently saw simply said "I hate to ruin the ending, but it's going to be Ok".
And with Faith in God, it will be. I get closer to that every day.
About the Author: This author has chosen to remain anonymous.