December 18, 2008

joy to the w . . . hat?!

"merry christmas! ... you're fired."

ok, so that's not exactly how it went down. let me explain what happened. and it helped a lot that the man who broke the news to me is one of the kindest and most sincere i've ever met.

today was b day (my favorite) and it was the last period of the day - we were teaching the three levels of christmas in a seminary christmas assembly. in the middle of class, i answered the phone when it rang. on the other end was brother packer - my c.e.s. supervisor. he wanted to let me know he was about to brave the snow and ice to come visit with me after school ended. in my heart, i already knew the reason for his visit. brother packer was coming to tell me what the answer to the question i've been stressing over for the last eight months. my heartbeat gave away the verdict as it pounded out the rhythm "it's a no, it's a no, it's a no." after hanging up the phone, i went back into the seminary assembly and looked at my beautiful, wonderful students. as i thought about how i only had the first week in january remaining with them, i couldn't stop the chills that ran down my spine. i was, however, determined to keep my composure, no matter what.

brother packer arrived right before the bell rang, yet i was slow to clean things up for fear of what awaited. we went into my office and he closed the door ... i knew that was a bad sign. whatever he had to say, he wanted to give me the respect of being the first and only one to hear it. there wasn't much chit-chat before he got right down to it. as i saw his wrinkled brow and stress-filled eyes, confirmation of what i already knew hit like a brick thrown at my stomach. as he said the words, "we ... think it would be best to go down a different path for now ... we won't be inviting you back next semester," i tried with all my might to remain calm even though hysteria was bubbling right beneath the surface.

brother packer knows my whole family - he's in the same stake as my family and was the former first counselor in my singles ward bishopric. i think that made it harder on him. as sad as i was for my loss, i could imagine how hard it was for him to sit across from me and tell me news that no one wants to hear. in spite of all my effort, my face crinkled-up before i could stop it and tears dropped down my blushed cheeks. i hate to cry in front of people. i hated to do it to him, especially. but he sat there and asked, "lacey, how are you? what can i do - besides get out of your face?" i told him i would be ok. Heavenly Father had prepared me for this moment in so many ways. i knew i would be ok.

of course, the knowledge that everything will be ok doesn't give immediate comfort when things aren't ok. after brother packer left, i cried and cried, then dried my eyes. then something would stand out to me and i'd start bawling again. i drove home and cried. i went into the house and cried. i sat on the couch and cried. i cried for my loss, i cried because of all the uncertainty in my life, i cried because the one person i wanted to call is all the way across the country serving a mission in florida. i took a nap, then cried some more. i don't know when my eyes will dry up completely. the wound in my heart is still fresh and my soul is still aching. i've got to give it some time.