Life’s Stressors

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 22, 2008 in Family Stuff |

I mentioned in previous posts how much I dislike change.  The only thing I dislike more than change is when I have to be the one to tell people that bad news that change is coming.

We are going through a transition period in our church and as the chairperson of the Staff/Parish Relations Committee, it is my job to inform the staff and the congregation of the changes.

After some very heated meetings a few weeks ago (I think this is about when I stopped posting), it was my job to tell three staff members that they were going to be asked to step down for financial reasons.

I understand why the decision was made, but I have to say that I was disappointed with the way it was presented to me.  I was told of the situation just minutes before a big meeting so that I had no time to react or even to consider alternatives. 

As a result, I reacted emotionally which was probably not the best thing to do.  And even worse, other people reacted even more emotionally – I have never heard the words "pray on it" used in such a negative, mean-spirited way.

Anyway…after the stress of those meetings, I was supposed to tell these three people that their lives were about to change.  I couldn’t sleep the night before my meeting with them – I just kept going over exactly what I was going to say.

I woke up that morning (well…I never actually went to sleep, so I guess I never ‘woke’ up) and got the kids off to school.  I didn’t feel well physically after that difficult night – I even had this weird case of the hiccups that were so intense that they caused a great deal of discomfort.  Then I was working updating the school sign and started having horrible chest pains.  I tried to work through it, but then had difficulty catching my breath and the pains kept getting worse and worse.  I sat down for a minute and one of the teachers walked by and asked if I was okay.  I told her that I wasn’t really feeling well and the next thing I know, someone called 911, the school went into a ‘Level 2 Lockdown’ state, the police and an ambulance showed up and I was rushed off to the hospital.  When I cause a scene, I cause a SCENE!!!!!

My friend Denise followed behind me in her car with her 4-way blinkers on (thanks, Denise, for risking your life in traffic for me) and all the way to the hospital, I just kept thinking of how I wasn’t going to make my 1:00 meeting at church.  I even had the EMT call Denise and ask her to call the church for me. 

I kept telling the EMT (and the nurses and doctors when I got to the hospital) how silly I felt.  I knew that this was caused by stress, but the pain wouldn’t let up.  The chest pains ended up lasting for about an hour or two and everything checked out okay at the hospital (which made me feel even more silly – at least if I were going to cause that kind of a spectacle, there’d better be something wrong with me!).

My pastor heard of the commotion and came to visit me in the E/R.  She shook her head and asked if the church had caused this to happen to me – I looked at her and told her that yes, it did, in a way. 

Fortunately, she took over and was the one to tell the staff the bad news (which made me feel horrible – how much of a wimp am I that I couldn’t do it myself?!?).  I still haven’t had the chance to really speak with them personally – I don’t know what I can say at this point.

Oh – and I also had to make the announcement to the congregation the following Sunday at church.  This time, at least I didn’t end up in the E/R.  I took my time and wrote out exactly what I wanted to say, trying to be sensitive to everyone’s feelings.

As I read the news, I heard some small gasps from the pews, and as I walked back to my seat, someone said to me, "It must suck to be you right now."  That’s putting it mildly! 

But the sort-of-good news is that at least since everyone heard of my ambulance ride (it’s a small town – word travels fast!), I at least had the sympathy vote so that no one yelled at me or threw things at me…at least not yet.

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