Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Beauty of Silence

It's our final thirteen days in Orlando, Florida. Thirteen days. My head is still spinning when I think about this and I must admit that it hasn't fully sunken in that we are driving north to Nashville, Tennessee to restart life anew.

I can't count the times I thought that we would be stuck here - me in my job as a club concierge at a fancy hotel and K as a receptionist at an eye clinic - or how many times I gave up all hope of ever working in a job that would maximize all of my gifts and abilities; a job that would not feel like a job but would feel like a perfect fit, a glove of my former career.

It was well into my third month at the first hotel I worked at (which is the sister property of where I work now) that I plummeted to the depths of self-pity. There I was, in the first job I could get in the US (not counting my three week stint as a housekeeper) after looking for four months and sending out close to 100 resumes, busing tables, replenishing drinks, making gallons of coffee and preparing buffet presentations for high-paying hotel guests, every day. My fingers would sometimes get smeared with leftover food, my muscles would strain from lifting cases of soda and beer, my mind, seemingly slowed from lack of stimulation.

Of course there were days that I had to make difficult dinner reservations for large groups while giving directions to another theme park to another guest and reading babysitting rates for another. My radio career was good training for entertaining and talking people up!

But wallow in self-pity I did. Each day a divine act of grace to get to and from work with a smile on my face. Each day a wrestling match with my Maker.
"Father, how long is life going to be like this for us?"

"Did I make a mistake in coming to Orlando?"

"Where do we go? What do we do?"
My resumes kept going out and kept getting ignored.

Each day, silence. All I knew, all I sensed, was that God loved, that He was near and that someday, everything was going to be alright.

One day, I was promoted to supervisor at our sister hotel, which is where I work now, and then two months later, I suddenly wasn't. My glimmer of hope was just that.

So there I was, wallowing in self-pity, questioning my ability to hear God when facebook set me straight.

I wrote a quick note to one of my dear pastors, Rey Corpuz:
It's been a tough year readjusting to a country I left as a child of 12. Napakahirap po magsimula sa Amerika! (It's so hard to start life in America!) Not like people who come here on work visas who land jobs on their same career path, I'm seen as a local who lived overseas too long.

So I work at a hotel, the only place that would hire me! No complaints since I just got promoted to supervisor. I'm a club concierge and I love working with guests. (we serve food, buss tables and make restaurant reservations) But a part of me wonders if I will ever get to do what I did before - communications in the ministry.

Perhaps that is the Egypt I must leave behind? I don't know. But with each step of the way, I only thank God for even allowing me AND Kyera to have a job.

(She was hired on the spot when she got her eyes checked for glasses! She's the front desk person for a Christian Haitian optometrist, and she also knows how to measure eyesight with those contraptions!)

She's not in school yet because we haven't been able to afford it but we're believing that next year God will make it happen.
His reply left me in tears:
what a blessing to hear testimonies of His faithfulness to you and kyera. ms menchie and i are so proud of you both exercising God's gift of work. doing your work for God is real worship which i call 'workship'. both of you are 'communicating' the life of Christ in you to people around you. so you haven't left your communications ministry, you're just doing it there instead of manila with the partnership of kyera to boot. and about egypt? the real egypt is in the heart where discontent, murmuring, complaining and dissatisfaction reside. it is the heart that is not most satisfied in the God of creation, salvation and provision. come to think of it, leaving our egypt is not the issue at all; it is removing all of egypt from our heart.
And so I shut up, embraced the status quo, and became... still. No dreams other than wanting to please God, no requests other than having Him by my side, no comfort other than His Hand holding mine.

Suddenly, out of the blue, a message about a possible opening at the US office of my former employers, Every Nation Ministries. A visit, an interview, a job offer, an acceptance and then here and now, the final two weeks in Orlando.

I don't know what else to say. My fourteen months at the hotel has been a most beautifully grace-and mercy-filled season. God allowed for me to stay in a "dungeon" where I had unlimited access to free food; free movie tickets; free entrances to theme parks and concierge perks at expensive restaurants. In His infinite wisdom, He permitted me to work in a job that would show me how much I love people.

And yet every step of the way, I kept seeing what I did not have, friends and a career in communications.

So here I am, humbled, pinching myself that I am returning to the job I loved dearly, in an office I never thought I would be working for again.

We truly, never deserve the goodness He lavishes. Everything is icing on the cake of His Mercy.


Roxy said...

God is good indeed. I think everything happens for a reason. All these challenges he makes us face are just stages in our lives that make us stronger and wiser. It helps us learn and relearn things we have forgotten. It makes us realize how we should be grateful for all the things we have. I always see it as we need to know how it feels to be "down" in order to fully appreciate what we have when we are "up". Like I've told you before, things will get better. It always does and we should never lose faith and always strive to be the best we can be no matter what. It's easy being good when things are good but it's hard to do good when everything around us seem to be bad. I am so happy for you and K. This is once again a new beginning for both of you and I have faith that this is just the start of something great! Love you girls!

Dreamer Jean said...

Wow Thelma God is so good! What a beautiful story. How exciting for you and your daughter. My husband just got laid off so we are in limbo (and denial) right now. It will hit us soon - I'm just trusting in the Lord's guidance.

Thelma said...

Roxy! The journey out of the long, dark, deep valley seemed to never end! But thankfully, indeed, things are starting to look brighter. I don't know what we would do without our Savior. :-) Maloloka siguro kami!

Thelma said...

Dreamer Jean! :-) I know Bambi from my time in Genesis and Trumpets a looooong time ago in 1991 pa. After I dropped out of college and had my daughter, Genesis was my first job. I worked for Gary V!

Thanks for stopping by Exits and Entrances! To think we'd find each other again more than 20 years later on facebook. Wow!

Hang in there, friend. God's adventures are never boring. The most important thing to keep in mind is that HE is in full control every step of the way.

Hugs and love!

Timmy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sheena said...

Sheena: Hi Tita T! So so so so happy for you and Kyera!!! *HUG* Don't really know what else to say but God is...."He's something else..."

Your story is encouraging. Thank you for the faith story. Can't wait to hear what else He has in store for you and Kyera in this new season of yours.

Mish said...

"and about egypt? the real egypt is in the heart where discontent, murmuring, complaining and dissatisfaction reside. it is the heart that is not most satisfied in the God of creation, salvation and provision. come to think of it, leaving our egypt is not the issue at all; it is removing all of egypt from our heart." --i needed to read this. i loved your blog. it was timely also. see how God uses our trials and testings to be testimonies to others? that's exactly what happened here. thanks for sharing this!

Thelma said...

Sheena! Thanks for stopping by! Life with God is truly a never-ending adventure, complete with action, suspense, romance, drama, mystery, comedy, tragedy. Good thing He's the Author and not us. :-)

Thelma said...

Mish! Hang in there. Your story is being written and soon it will be your turn to bubble over with how good God has been to you. Many will see. :-)

Mrs. V.V.Palarca said...

Hi Thelma, I like your blog. I just found the time to read it now. I'm a Christian too so I know how it is to be living our lives according to Him and not our own plans. :-) By the way, I read here that you used to be in NU107. Naabutan mo ba si Cathy "Roxy" Ilagan? She's an old friend. We worked together in GMA before. Anyway, I'll link u up on my blog. God bless!