Books and Bingo

GB

I hadn’t planned on quitting that day. When the company’s vice-president found out about my job searching, he immediately escorted me to the boss’s office.

“Tami has something to tell you.” Oh, I do, do I? I would’ve liked to deliver my 2-week notice on my timing, but sometimes God has different plans.

My boss squinted. He shifted and tilted back in his chair like my high school principal had before he suspended me.

“Well, do you have another job lined up?”

“Not exactly.”

“That’s not very smart. Why wouldn’t you want to stay here and earn the kind of money Cassie’s earning?”

“Because I’m not Cassie, and I’m not happy doing this.”

We stared at each other for a few seconds. A corner of his mouth rose as did my temperature.

“What do you want to do with your life? What are your dreams?” he said.

“I’m almost finished with my manuscript. I want to get it published. And I’m starting a non-profit to help other girls who are bullied.”

As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew I had shared more than he deserved to know.

“What makes you think you’re gonna get published? How are you gonna start a non-profit? Where you gonna to get the money?”

All legitimate questions I had already answered for myself. I studied English and Journalism in college, so there was that. No guarantees but it was a start. I had a story and a purpose, and I was determined to find a way to use it for good. Growing up, I watched my dad work to help charities fundraise through bingo. My boss knew of my dad’s work because both businesses were in the same community. I didn’t feel like my strategies were my boss’s business, but I answered respectfully.

 “I’m applying for a bingo license, so I can raise money for programming.”

He scowled. Although he knew of the bingo company, he, like many people in our community, misunderstood how it helped schools purchase playground equipment, fire departments replace ambulances, soup kitchens feed homeless, and animal shelters spay and neuter.

“Bingo, huh? That’s not very Christian.”

I didn’t like his judgment, but I needed it. I stood over him and extended my hand. He hesitated. “Thanks for the opportunity. Now I can go do what’s important to me.”

I wrote (and am re-writing) a book that may never be picked up by a mainstream publisher. I’ve made peace with that. My charity was small and local. I raised a few thousand dollars through bingo to conduct programming that maybe, just maybe, saved one girl from wanting to go home after school to lay down and die. Books and bingo didn’t make sense to my boss, but I didn’t need him to understand. His judgment didn’t feel good, but it served as fuel to power my walk.

“Not everyone will understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.” 

Fuel

Transitions

 

 

leave

My husband and I spent the last three years passing by our community on our way to our business in the big city. In November, we relocated closer to home. Since then, we’ve been working on connecting and rebuilding. It’s both revitalizing and taxing—just the way I like it. To feel pressed and stretched alongside my husband assures me we’re living life abundantly and trusting God faithfully. We have a plan and know what we need to do to execute that plan. While it has momentarily taken my focus away from my writing, I stay sane remembering change is necessary for growth and for gaining flexibility to write more. The pressure and excitement that accompany this transition remind me of how far I’ve come since the days of school when during and after breaks, friendships would occasionally change and conflicts flared up. Back then that kind of stuff hit me hard. I’d never see it coming.

One of my most glaring transitional lessons occurred my sophomore year of college over Christmas break. One of my roommates called me and told me my suitemate, Katie, had failed out and moved out. I was shocked. I had no idea she was anywhere near failing out. She struggled in stats, but who didn’t? It was one of the hardest classes. Katie was one of my best friends. Why hadn’t she told me? Why didn’t she call me? She couldn’t leave now.

After Katie moved out, she wouldn’t return my calls, e-mails or messages. I was upset and hurt. I’m sure the whole thing was embarrassing for her, but why did our friendship have to go down the stinker too? Eventually, her mom and I connected. I told her I should’ve been more concerned. I should’ve taken better care of Katie. Before break, she had been dating six different guys. Sometimes she stayed out all night. We wouldn’t know her whereabouts, and none of us could reach her. I cared about her safety. I should’ve addressed my concern earlier. However, Katie wasn’t in a place to accept help. The only sense I would eventually make from her abrupt discontinuation of our friendship was that, on top of her embarrassment, she resented me for airing my concerns to her mother. I never heard from Katie again.

That transition was painful and confusing. It was the kind of lesson that prepared me to respond better to the challenges I may or may not see coming in business, relationships, and life. It helped me see that sometimes things change for no apparent reason, that we cannot control others’ actions, only our reactions. And sometimes things must change for apparent reasons and it’s our responsibility to make those changes. It is when we accept transitioning that we begin to gain a clearer understanding of where we’re meant to be and what we’re meant to do in this world.

This year, our business is taking off. We will meet new personalities and continue to help people in the ways God has called us. We cannot prepare for everything, but we’re as prepared as we can be. No matter what this new endeavor brings our way, with time, we will expand our perspective and write new stories that further connect our path of past transitions.