“Sneakers are on, my water bottle is here as well as my sun glasses. I am all set, let’s go,” I said to Marby, one of my close friends. “Are you sure you can do this?” Marby wondered. “I am fine. I believe that I totally recovered. Don’t worry, I got this,” I replied with confidence. By the time, I was finally out heading to the main area to start the trip, everybody else were already half -way through with their hiking adventure.
I always value Marby’s several qualities as a friend especially her patience and calmness. Although it was a hiking activity, we were turtling all the way up and down. I had never hiked before. I had no idea about the rocky, hilly road I was about to take. However, Marby’s patience with me made it doable. Every time I moved my foot though, different sized stones would come right under my foot and I would scream out of pain. “Are you ok? Would you like us to go back?” Marby questioned with concern. “I am fine, let’s keep going,” I answered with determination. It took us 40 minutes to reach the final destination when it took everybody else 15 minutes at most.
Once we got there, we managed to take a couple of pictures by the river of Yellow Springs in West Virginia, where the retreat was held. It was a lovely, bright late afternoon. The breeze would refresh one’s tired muscles after a tedious, tiring trip, while the sound of running water would wash away any anxiety or pain. Since we made it there after everybody else had arrived already, it was time for us to head back to the retreat center. “Oh no, please wait,” I approached the servant who was leading the group. “We just got here. I can’t go back that quickly. I am so tired and my foot really hurts,” I argued as I was begging the servant to stay a little longer. I wanted to catch my breath and give my foot a little break. “Marina, we really have to go. It will get dark here very soon and we are on a schedule. We have to go back before the last talk would start. However, I have a good idea to get you back,” the servant proposed. I wondered what kind of idea he got.
“Mark and Hans, could you please come here for a second?” the servant asked these two handsome, German-Egyptian brothers whom I never met before in person, just heard of them. He explained my foot situation to both of them and asked if they could carry me back to the retreat center as I could not make it on my own. “Oh wait. I would be carried by these two handsome guys?” In a sense, it was an absolute honor but on the other hand it was very embarrassing indeed. Their responses came much faster than it took my brain to process all these conflicting feelings and thoughts. I was approached by two good looking gentlemen who reached their arms out to carry me like a princess sitting on her throne. I was very shy and embarrassed at the same time. I was never carried before by any guy in my life, except by my father when I was a little kid. Anyway, what happened had happened. As I got myself situated, I started to chat with them, made fun of myself, trying hard to make it less awkward. A bunch of people were accompanying us too which made me feel very uncomfortable.
We finally made it back. I expressed my gratitude to both of them. I wanted to end this awkward situation as soon as possible, so I excused myself heading back to my room. Once I got there, my brain played a flash back of all what took place in the woods. I laughed hard every time I recalled how I started the trip as a hiker and ended up being carried. I had to wash up and change before the priest would start the last talk of the day. Shortly after, we all met at the main hall to attend the talk. Then, we went downstairs to the food area to have dinner. After dinner, about 9:00 PM, the most fun time of the day began. We went outside for bonfire. My friends and I were chatting, toasting marshmallows and dipping it into melted Hershey chocolate when I noticed Mark looking at me. He came to say hi and checked up on me. We chatted for some time and then all of us decided to go inside and play some board games. The entire evening was filled with fun and joy. We played cards, foosball, ping-pong, taboo, the broken phone – you name it. I remember that night I went really late to bed with a big smile on my face.
The following day was our last one at the retreat. We attended the final talk, had breakfast and went straight to our rooms to pack. Shortly after, we were all gathered outside for a group picture. I got to see Mark again and of course we chatted for some time. He expressed his happiness of getting to know me and asked if we could keep in touch. Eventually, we said good-bye to one another and everyone headed home carrying beautiful memories from a remarkable weekend.
As I had so much fun at the retreat, God & I got to sit and talk as well. I didn’t have a definite answer from Him concerning my work situation. But, I felt this indescribable peace, the need to submit, and obey whatever the outcome might be. I was joyful even with the circumstances being the same. I Had full trust in the Lord. “He got this,” I told myself as I was getting ready for bed. I slept deep that night.
I woke up the following day and got ready as usual for work. I was praying the entire time, in the car, on the way there. I asked God to give me a sign if my time was up at this job. Once I made it to the office, my former boss & I had a little argument. I had to excuse myself to go to the rest room in order to organize my thoughts. While I was there, I asked God to confirm the sign He just gave me. After I was back in the office, the issue escalated with my boss. I found myself, without hesitation, asking him nicely and politely to excuse myself from working for him. To my surprise, he agreed right away and wished me good luck.
I left the office with a strange feeling that I could not quite describe. I was 100% confident that quitting my job was a word-taken from God. Otherwise, I would not have dared to take such a step, especially that I was the main bread-winner of the family at the time. I had been praying for this decision for 14 months. However, the way out I planned for myself was to find another job, not just quitting and staying home. But God’s plan was totally different from mine. Even though I was at peace, I was still shocked from the life changing decision I just took. To be continued…….