I’ve deleted all my email, loaded my car, shipped my files and changed my voice mail to notify customers “I am no longer an active employee.”
I have nothing to do.
It’s 1:51 in the afternoon, only 13 percent power remains on my laptop battery, I have no unread items in my Google Reader and the meeting with HR is not until 2:30.
Again, I have nothing to do.
The thing about knowing for the better part of a year that today was coming is that the emotion has already been spent. The contemplation has already been done. I just need my paperwork and a place to turn in my key.
For, I have nothing to do.
Last Sunday, my family met my pastor and his wife here late in the afternoon. He’d asked me occasionally over the past several years if I would give him a tour of the building, a local landmark. It’s not every little town on the South Dakota prairie that has a seven story building stretching up in its landscape.
My boys had never been to the seventh floor either, so we made a family event of it. Looking down from seven stories changes perspective. Instead of seeing a single building before us, we see the structures, landmarks, trees and parks in context with the rest of the community.
The view from the top also affords another perspective I can’t see on the ground: we’re at the bottom of the bowl. Once buildings and trees don’t block the view, I can see the coteau lining the horizon and the highway running downhill to the bottom of this basin.
At the bottom, I can’t see that I’m in a valley.
At the top, I can.
It seems to me that this should mean something profound.
But I’m all contemplated out.
We wound up our little tour in the cafeteria on the second floor. His voice hushed in the late afternoon shadows, Pastor Dennis asked, “Could we have prayer here, in the cafeteria?”
Of course we could. So there in the space where sleepy workers find their caffeine injections in the morning and a hot meal at noon, we six found one another’s hands around a little table for four.
Where coworkers enjoy lunchtime conversation with each other, we enjoyed some conversation with the Father. We reminded Him of our story, the one He already knows so well.
And as Pastor Dennis spoke aloud, God spoke in the quiet, reminding us of His story.
The one we already know so well.
The story of His faithfulness.
Today, as I wait, with nothing to do, well-wishing colleagues stop by. It’s awkward for them, talking to those of us departing today. Some of them will be here a few more months. Others a few more years. Nobody knows for sure anymore.
Awkward, yes. But it gives me a chance to tell that story again, that story of His faithfulness.
My need is no greater, my circumstance no more dire than theirs.
And His faithfulness to each of us remains as steadfast as it was a week ago. A year ago.
A lifetime ago.
Contracts distributed, terms defined, keys surrendered, and thank yous for years of service expressed, we gather at local establishment for happy hour.
It’s an ironic way to mark the end of an era for a local business. Indeed, for a community. Folks who’ve spent the whole of their adult lives working side by side in the same building part ways. I’m the short-timer, rubbing shoulders with those who have decades of history here.
Sipping my Pepsi, I’m asked again. The same question posed countless times over hours and days and weeks and months.
What will you do now?
My answer remains the same: I will wait on God. He hasn’t failed me yet.
I don’t suppose He’ll change His ways anytime soon.
And so continues this new chapter in the story of His great faithfulness.