99: The Blessing of a Friend

99: The Blessing of a Friend

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings

  
The Blessing of a Friend

There is one word
which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life—
reciprocity.

~Confucius

For weeks on end, I waited to receive the call that I had lost my job due to cutbacks. Times were tough and I worked part-time at a private Christian school. All the employees were aware that problems in the economy had reduced enrollment. We were also aware that other local Christian schools had recently cut the number of classes and one had even closed. It was only a matter of time till I had no job at all.

When our school mentioned having to make cuts, such as not replacing some people who were leaving, freezing raises, and cutting non-essential personnel, I was sure I would be one of the first employees let go. After all, I had only been working at the school one year and shared a secretarial job with another woman who had been at the school many years. I worked the morning shift and she worked the afternoon shift. If they had to cut our position back to one person part-time, I was lowest on the totem pole. My husband and I loved the school and wanted our children to continue attending, but we knew it would be financially difficult, if not impossible, to keep three children there without me working.

All of our kids were well adjusted in the school and doing well academically. They were sharing with us the Bible lessons they were learning from their once a week chapel and from their daily Bible instruction in each of their classes. They had all made many friends, and the thought of making them change schools or become home-schooled again was unpleasant at best.

Because I was part-time I didn’t work in the summer, but I checked in with the full-time people often to see how things were going. News was bad. Enrollment was not going up very fast. Jobs were being cut. Teachers lost their aides. Some grades went from two classes to one, so even some teachers lost their jobs. My income was not supporting the family but it did allow my children to attend. I prayed daily for those people at the school who needed their jobs to pay their bills and feed their families. But then I also prayed that my kids could keep attending. At the end of each prayer I prayed for God’s will, knowing that He knows better than we do what we need.

The woman I job-shared with had worked at the school while her own children had attended, clear through to graduation. She was like a mentor to me. I often went to her with questions because she knew our position so much better than I did. If I lost my job, I’d miss not only the income, but working with her and the other ladies in my office. But as I said earlier, I knew God would take care of my situation.

The call came. My position had been cut from two part-time people to one. I was prepared to walk away, but what I wasn’t prepared for was that my job-share partner had voluntarily given up her job so that I could keep mine. God was working in a way I had not expected.

This wonderful woman blessed me and my family by helping my kids to stay at the school. On the phone one day she told me, “I wanted to give your kids the same chance to stay through graduation that my girls had.”

Not only did this wonderful friend give up her job for me, but she now fills in whenever I need a day off. I have had to call her many times at the last minute because of sick kids or other needs and she has been right there to work for me. I pray good things for her often and tell her that she has been a huge blessing for my family during these tough times.

Ultimately it’s God that helps us through the tough times. In many cases, like this one, it’s evident how He does it. Through the sacrificial love of others.

~Angel Ford

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