Trial By Fire
This was originally typed in Patreon as my Friday Fun post, but then it got too long and rant-y (I really needed to get this out of my system ... it was therapeutic, at least) and I decided to post it here. It starts out kind of bitter but ends up in a good place, so just a warning about that ... and if you start reading, please finish.
Well, it has been a week of extreme highs and lows. I'm exhausted. Here's the story (which, like a Shakespearean comedy, starts badly and ends well):
My internet speed is STILL not upgraded (hurry up and get over here, AT&T!!!) and some things like putting SEO on blog posts have been taking me forever--and I admit I am not a patient person. ... Being unable to do my job efficiently has been driving me absolutely nuts this week. Like, it should not take 45 minutes to do SEO on one post. It should take less than 5. It should not take 5 minutes to copy and paste in a URL! If you're a praying person, please pray that I won't go insane before the 19th, which is when AT&T is supposed to come ... hopefully they will have an earlier opening! I gave up on SEO after Wednesday. The earliest few posts can wait. Y'all need me to still be alive and not in the loony bin or back on evil meds.
And then there was Amzn.* That site is the absolute WORST sometimes. If it lets you leave a review, please do (reviews are SO important!), because Big Brother won't let a lot of us!! Like Oscar. I wasted so much time and money trying to review a certain book from his account (which was inactive ... they made me spend $50 to become active, and the first $50 I spent was the "wrong kind" because it was a deal/discount, and I didn't realize that didn't count until after I spent it, but I didn't want to return that gift because he really wanted it, so I had to spend $50 more ... and I'm broke and things are much cheaper when not bought on Amzn). I'm as thrifty as they come, can and have survived on practically no money, and absolutely hate being wasteful. So you can imagine how mad at Amzn I am. After all that time, all that money, it let me type in a review ... only to say "You can't review from this account" after I hit the Send button. GRRRRRR. It was a long, obnoxious try/fail cycle that never got past "fail," and that's no fun in books or in life!
BUT ... okay, finally, getting to the good part ...
On Wednesday, I received WONDERFUL, AMAZING news!! Oscar called from work and said they're hiring him on permanently!! We have been waiting SIX years for that to happen! Six years of him being stuck in (mostly IT) contracts that promised permanence but were crying wolf and dumped him after a year or half a year, throwing him back onto unemployment for months at a time and dozens more job interviews and rejections and resume tweaks each time! I never want to touch his resume ever again!! (I swear I have at least 100x...) He switched from IT to calibration a year or two ago, and the first company loved him and was legit gonna hire him, BUT guess what? Right before that would've happened, the corporate bigwigs decided to move the company out of the area to Chicago. And we are not leaving all our family and friends and moving there, where it's more expensive AND the position would be scaled down and pay less.
But finally, FINALLY this hardest-working-person-ever gets what he deserves. All Oscar ever does is be friendly and nice and show up every day, early, and do his job with excellence, without complaining or gossiping or stealing or doing drugs (unlike some people who got hired again immediately) ... and all he ever got was rejection after rejection and lie after lie, not even treated like a human being. Just something to be used and thrown away.
But now someone recognizes his humanity and his worth (someone who can pay him, I mean). And, admittedly, my euphoria is mingled with disbelief. Because after this long ... after this much agony and trauma ... can it be? Can it be true? Can it be over? Can we breathe again? I keep expecting to wake up and find that his hiring news was a dream.
I do believe we both have PTSD from all this. We have both been through the longest, worst try/fail cycles imaginable (without being infinite ... although they sure felt that way). Mine is mostly my poor health, evil meds that mess me up even more, and thus inability to work much. AND our problems have been going on at the same time, so neither one of us has been strong enough to carry the other. And in the midst of all that, our adoption agency kicked us out because of his job situation. So who knows if we'll ever get to be parents. (You'd think, of all people, social workers would be patient and kind and forgiving. ...)
But we're still here. We're still married. Still going to church and hanging out with family and friends and living life. And I'm a freakin' COO now, which I'm shocked about and never would've dreamed of such a thing happening. And my book is finally being published!!
That stuff has to be from God. There's no other way we could have been carried through. If you don't believe in Him ... well, if I didn't, I would have killed myself long ago, or at least absolutely given up trying anything after all I've been through. Bullying and 13+ years of sickness and near-poverty and depression and much more. But I still believe He is good and has a plan for me and it will all be worth it someday. It's like a character being put through all kinds of terrible trials in a book, but in the end, they come out of it way better than they started off. They grew into a true hero worthy of the prince(ss) or treasure or victory or whatever they get at the end. And their story/life only has meaning and value and interest because of what they overcame.
After all, if you don't have to work for something, does it really have any value?
We are all being shaped and tested and refined. Will we come through the fire hardened, like an egg, or softened, like a potato? Will there be nothing left of us but dross (bitterness and emptiness), or will there be pure gold discovered inside?
I pray that, as we enter a new year, a new decade, that we will all be found to have gold inside, and that we will let our hearts be softened and not hardened. There is meaning; there is purpose. You choose how you respond to whatever life throws at you.
I want to believe and say that 2020 is going to be a much better year. But, well, I'm not a psychic (no matter that they say INFJs are...) and I've still got maybe half^ my life to get through, so I'm not making any predictions. I will just keep plugging on through the plot of my life, trying to make the best decisions I can and hopefully becoming a more proactive character in the second half. I can change the story; I can make things happen and help write it.
I hope that you will realize and do the same.
*Abbreviated because of Big Brother. The book seller site we all know and DON'T love.
^No, I'm not in my 40s yet! But when you're on long-term immunosuppressants, your life expectancy goes down. I'm at peace about it.
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Sarah Awa lives in Ohio with two hairy guys and writes books about werewolves.