Yourself or Someone Like You

Recently, one of my co-workers suffered a stroke and because of her other health problems she cannot come back to work. In fact, her doctors have said she’s lucky to be alive. While it’s sad to lose her (she’s a great lady), I’m happy they decided to hire a new person to fill her position. I fretted and bit my nails over who they would choose. We really need another person to do taxes, not just the bookkeeping work our former co-worker was doing. I wasn’t hopeful given management’s track record of late, but they surprised me by hiring… me.

She’s not exactly like me but close enough. She’s around 30, unmarried, has experience doing this kind of work, and most importantly, does individual taxes. That’s exactly what we need. I’m working on training her and I see a lot of myself there. She went to grad school and got the Masters and is still trying to decide if she wants to get the CPA. I decided against all that early on but we have a lot in common. She’s responsible, detail-oriented, hard-working, kind, and respectful. She’s struggled through her twenties, having jobs pulled out from under her. I’ve struggled on one job. Boy, have I struggled. We may not have the same experiences but we agree that she needs the training now. It’s only six weeks to tax season. She wants to know what she’s responsible for and how to do it and I’m trying to make that happen. Management has responded positively to my efforts and I see that trend continuing. I’ve proven over the last year and a half that I’m attempting to improve things for everyone, not just myself. And that seems to be appreciated.

A year ago we were in dire straits. I was sending up desperate prayers that these issues would get resolved, that someone would pay attention, that people would stop fighting me when I was trying to help them. It looks like those prayers have been answered. This time next year could be even better.

There are many things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving but the biggest is this job. There have been a lot of days when it didn’t seem worth it and I wanted to just quit and go somewhere else. It has taken six long, hard-fought years but I finally feel like it’ll be okay. I’ve built a career here and I’ve earned respect. I was even able to clone myself. Now, that’s something to be thankful for.

A Prayer of Thanksgiving

Father God,

Thank You for Your provision this year.

Thank You for the frustration and stress.

Thank You for the paychecks.

Thank You for wisdom and discernment.

Thank You for coming change.

Thank You for emotional healing.

Thank You for putting me in the fray.

Thank You for enlightening books.

Thank You for job training, both physical and spiritual.

Thank You for sustaining me and teaching me.

Thank You for what You have done, are doing, and will do.

And most of all, thank You for Your son Jesus Christ and in His mighty name I pray,

Amen

“But why don’t we travel for Thanksgiving?”

I asked that question a lot as a kid.  All the kids at school would disappear on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving (we still had to go to school on that day back then) and I would hear all about how they travelled to some far off place to visit relatives and how great it was.  I was always jealous because I wanted to travel too.  Why didn’t we go see Grandma and Grandpa, and Aunt Her and Uncle Him and Cousin Whoever?  It seemed like I was the only person in the school who stayed home and had turkey with the immediate family.

It wasn’t until I reached high school and started to learn more about my extended family that I realized I had it pretty good.  Turns out there are reasons my parents decided to move hundreds of miles away from their relatives.  And as I started to get to know other kids’ families, I found that living on one plot of land with thirty relatives isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  I live in a small, rural Southern town and I know many people who have extended family living nearby and, bless their hearts, the horror stories I’ve heard!  Everyone is in everybody else’s business and trying to tell everybody what to do and if you don’t like one of them, too bad.  They’re still going to come over uninvited and tell you how you should be living your life.

I’ve learned to appreciate the small, quiet Thanksgivings with my parents and brother.  Now that my brother is married, we do have extended family over.  Thank God it’s just them, though.  My sister-in-law moved far away from her family for some of the same reasons as my parents. 

So this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for many things (including the small ones) but a big one is the fact that I didn’t have to deal with all that extended family drama when I was growing up.  I don’t know what my future in-laws will be like but for now Thanksgiving is a pretty stress-free affair.  I’ll raise a glass to that.