A week ago it felt like my work environment was about to go up (or down) in flames. We found ourselves coping with a sudden departure, ugly maneuverings, worried clients, and serious financial concerns. We've spent the days since working our tails off helping to put things back in order, answering hundreds of phone calls to reassure our clients, and trying to come to terms with our own shock, sadness, and overwhelming exhaustion.
I have sensed so strongly the effect of all your encouraging words and prayers on my behalf - they have helped to keep me calm and centered, they have enabled me to do what I do best... keep a leaky boat afloat and heading for calmer waters. My coworkers and I decided that we are determined to see it through, and day by day we are doing just that.
I am happy to report that things are slowly beginning to lighten up and look more hopeful. There have been several opportunities to practice my beliefs, and I feel good about what has transpired. We have developed a closer relationship with the owner/head attorney of our firm, and I have made a good impression - not through amassing "brownie points", but through hard work, a positive attitude, and dedication. The pressures coming at us from the outside have caused us three coworkers to pull more tightly together, working more cooperatively than ever in the past.
Two days ago I went to the Post Office to collect our mail. As I turned to leave the counter with my bag full of mail, who should I see standing less than three feet away but the wife of the attorney who just resigned. She is also an attorney and left our firm early last Spring. I have worked with both of them for over two years, and we worked well together. Recognizing me, she immediately looked down at her feet, unsure about my mindset and whether we should pass by each other without comment.
For just a moment it was miserably uncomfortable for us both since relationships between her/her husband and our firm are very strained at the moment. But I decided to listen to my heart instead of my head and the negativity that sometimes grows there. I stopped directly in front her her, gave her a warm smile, and said "Hi G..." I'm sure that I took her by surprise, but I know that we are going to run into each other many times since the new law firm they are starting is just a few floors below ours in the same building, and I didn't want each encounter from now on to be awkward and strained. She looked up, offered a smile, and said "hi", and we let it go at that, lest someone accuse me of consorting with the enemy.
When I got to my car I sent her a text that said "I hope you know how much we all hate this. You and R have always treated my kindly, and I thank you for that."
She quickly responded, "We hate it too. We really liked working with you." A few seconds later she added, "I think in the end it will work out ok for all of us."
I texted back "I truly hope it will." And I felt so much better for having chosen to be kind. It reminded me of a verse I learned long ago...
speak first, and...if such a thing is necessary...forgive first."
Today I encountered G waiting for an elevator as I rode up to our floor. I smiled and again said "Hi G". This time she smiled broadly, and without words we were able to acknowledge that we will remain friends once the dust has settled. Thank you Lord, I don't like harboring ill feelings!
As is often true of life, if we endure the really hard times, good things will come of it. A new co-worker has been hired and will start in another week. This is a young man who was previously interviewed and impressed me. We have desperately needed good additional help since we lost our fourth person at the beginning of the year. Clearly my email to a couple of the management staff regarding our situation helped get this moving. A new attorney will also be hired to replace the one who left. It will very likely be someone just recently graduated from law school. This is okay, we can "train them" in the way they should go to help us all provide the best and most compassionate services possible for our clients.
Financial concerns have eased up some, at least for the time being, and we are all hoping that there is enough work to support two law firms in the same line of work; competition can be a good motivator!
The recent events have also given me a clearer picture of why God has me there at the present time. I have a good rapport with our clients. Many who called in after they received our letter notifying them of the changes, requested to speak specifically with me. I have earned their trust, and they are glad to hear from me that all is well, and their claims are being taken care of as always. In times of transition, it is always good to see a familiar face when you walk in the door, and there again, kindness has paid off. Taking a few extra minutes to chat about life, the weather, children, or whatever has showed them that I am approachable and real.
We are all in it together really, the management, my coworkers, our clients and me, and as weary as I am tonight, I have the feeling that things really are going to be okay. It's a good feeling, a peaceful feeling. Thank you Lord for keeping me focused on being kind and staying calm in the midst of the storm.
Plant seeds of kindness and watch them grow!
Now head on over to BYG Adventures and share your thoughts on "plant"!