As the days pass and more and more people are choosing to leave campus.
I am reminded of a story I read in a Mercedes Lacky book. It differs from our situation because the in the story the officers are all killed off, and all that is left is sergeants that would never be promoted. In the story one Scout team leader realizes that the situation is untenable. She stands and rips off her company badge, she has the right to do so because she is on the sick list. Yet she still lives in fear and runs away as fast as she can from the company to protect herself. Long story short, her compatriots also rip off their badges leaving the leader with no followers.
Some days I feel like we are living this story out. Many times I find myself marveling at the things I never knew were going on. How I felt like I had to always keep my head down and be "good" to protect my spouse's career. What I wore, what the kids wore, how long are those shorts?? "No you can't wear that to prayer meeting!" These were all part of the equation of being "good staff" "reaching the lost at any cost." My mind boggles.
I see myself willing to make sacrifices for the good of my family as we house hunt... the kind of sacrifices used to only be made for the work, the field. GFA is run as a family. Since our announcement that we are leaving, things changed drastically. The dichotomy of we are a family and a ministry was do-able for us for 12 years. At this point my mind can't wrap it's self around it anymore. It's almost as if our life here is fracturing because ministry and family is so intertwined, to leave one means the loss also of the other. This exclusivity is almost as if we are in one corporation and just got a job with the competion and we are now a corporate spy. *sigh* It's easier to stay home from prayer meeting than watch people keeping me under surveillance. I wonder if they realize how obvious they are?? Hey for the record I see your sitting behind me every prayer meeting, which is why I stopped coming I don't want my friends getting in trouble because they are seen with me. *eye roll*
I noticed leadership has always used the language "So and So is Leaving Us" not "Moving on", "Not found a new job, let us rejoice with them," but the tone is always one of sadness, as if "they" are divorcing "us," From now on all interaction will be awkward and stilted. I know this stems from the old belief system of "If you are called to GFA you are called for life." I do recall the oddness of turning inward, turning away from those I used to know, the grief and sadness. Previous staffers are so hurt I have seen them cross over to the other side of the street, ignoring my waves of greeting. I was also one who ignored people, stopped calling, and etc. My reasons were varied. In the beginning I felt like I should. If we were friends because of GFA and you left, I had to drop you. I had bought into the line of thinking "They had become worldly" and "They will draw me away from the work." I had a view that ALL my time belonged to GFA, sadly not "ALL my time belongs to GOD!"
So as I think and look back at our life here for the past few years, I am beginning to realize there is a question I haven't been asking. It's not: Does GFA practice shunning? But rather why is the relationship so broken? Why does it feel like a divorce of irreconcilable differences? How can an organization that warns their staff of the statistic "On average most missionaries do not make it past the 2 year mark, due to personality conflicts." end up in this place? So much hurt so much pain?
I have no answers, I do see GFA as an organization that bends over backward to help you (The staff and leadership do help people in amazing ways. When we have been in need they have always come through.) Now that I have become a "distraction" well it's gotten weird.