day 20/20: #40shoutouts40days

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Dear super amazing first boss,
 
For Lent I decided I would leisurely stroll down memory lane, thanking people who played a role in my life, big or small. Tonight I am grappling for the right words because I feel like I owe you so many more thanks than I could possibly articulate on so little sleep. I believe I also owe you an apology.
 
But first, thank you! Thank you for taking a risk on me immediately after I finished school. Watching you run your thriving business was inspiring. You modeled excellent leadership. No task was below you. You treated everyone with dignity and respect. You lit up hungry faces with your humour and you taught me how to prepare buffets for thousands of people in one go, something I will hopefully never have to do again. Cooking for my family is a breeze in comparison.
 
I wish I could thank you for giving me the opportunity of my dreams but unfortunately, that wasn’t my reality. I had my share of good days but the bad outweighed the good and I fear I stayed much longer than I should have. I felt so humbled and blessed to work for you and I didn’t know what to do with my distress at work, when my expectations of myself were too heavy and I had trouble coping. It wasn’t fair for you and I should have quit. You were very patient and gracious to me. I have the utmost respect for you and your wife, the way you genuinely care for your staff and treat them as family.
 
The role you offered me was unexpectedly challenging on every level. I won’t go into details because I have pages of hard truth stored away in a journal. It is nothing personal; it was my own struggle. What I will tell you is that everything that I had unknowingly built my identity on imploded and I felt completely worthless as a result. Failure weighed heavy on my shoulders and I shed gallons of tears quietly in the dark. God had a lot of work to do in my heart and at that stage in my life, I could not have asked for a more understanding boss to stand by me while it all hit the fan.
 
I have processed it and gleaned joy from all the sorrow. Now I know that my identity is not my performance at work, good or bad. Great freedom comes from living in this truth.
 
I remember how everything changed after the unexpected car accident on the job. Praise God for that other woman’s negligence behind the wheel. Her mistake was my salvation, even if it has since caused me back pain. Looking back now, I see that I was clearly the wrong person for that role and you were much better off without me.
 
God redeemed my identity crisis almost immediately after leaving the company. A young mom from our church was stricken with cancer and everything deteriorated quickly. I was asked to step in as a coordinator for the memorial. The job was daunting – it was a very large crowd and there were several variables to manage. I was only confident to handle it because of what I learned from you. I remember thinking that if the only good thing that came from my difficult year was that I could have coordinated that memorial, nothing would be lost. Thankfully much more good has sprung up over the years.
 
Now when I host a crowd I think about my days catering with you and the team. I set out all my serving utensils and thoughtfully arrange the buffet. I can’t replicate your prime rib or jovial presence but I do my best. I think you’d be proud.
 
So much love and gratitude,
 
E

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