The piece of paper stuck to his hand, held in place by shock. The tears flowed, blotting the paper and forming pools of transparent material, unnoticed by the mourner. Ronald couldn’t perceive the stench of urine, which littered the toilet cubicle’s floor or hear people’s movement in and out of the men’s toilet. His gaze fixed on the paper, by now unseeing, his mind far, far away.
His baby girl gained admission into a primary school, and his wife needed money to resume business after the pandemic. After three months of remote work and half-pay, he started working again, firing to go, ready to put in his all, and grateful for an opportunity most lost. Ronald didn’t see it coming.
His manager, Lola, called him into her office, and it surprised him to find the H.R. Manager there as well, seated. When she asked him to sit, Lola’s tone made him look at her again, forgetting the invitation offered.
“Ronald, sit.” The H.R. manager, Paul said.
Ronald did, looking at Lola, what he expected to find on her face, he didn’t know. Lola looked at Paul, a pleading look on her face. Paul delivered the blow, efficient in his strategy, mastered over time. He sounded professional and empathetic, but firm in his wish for Ronald’s best in his future endeavors, elsewhere.
Ronald turned back to Lola, and she turned away to check her computer, not before he saw the tears swimming at the back of her eyes.
“But Lola, we discussed this. You said Management stopped the staff reductions, and you told me we were safe.” Ronald said, his voice louder than usual.
Lola turned back to him, the love of a sister in her eyes. Paul kept quiet, knowing Lola had to deal from that point onward.
“The decision was made this morning, Ronald. I wasn’t at the Management meeting and didn’t know. I am so sorry. It is well, though. The company will give you excellent recommendation, and I will send your C.V. to all my friends. It is well, please believe it.” She said, holding his hand.
Paul moved two sheets of paper on the table to Ronald. “Please sign these. You can read them, and ask me questions. I am here for you.”
Ronald moved them closer and picked the pen lying on Lola’s table. He signed both documents, and handed one back to Paul, silent, the weight of his circumstances crashing on him in stages. He hit stage two at that point.
“I am sorry, Ronald, but you have 20 minutes to pack your personal belongings, drop the company assets in your care, and leave the building,” Paul said, standing to leave. He took Ronald’s hand from where it hung limp and shook him with strength.
“You are not alone, my friend. We are with you and will do our best to see you established in another place. Lola, please collect the items from him. I will send someone for them later.” Paul said, looking at Ronald’s bent head before he walked out.
“Ronald, be strong. Remember the verses of scripture we discussed this morning?” Lola asked, looking at him, hoping to find light in her friend’s eyes.
Ronald nodded, unable to look at her. “Give me ten minutes, and I will be back with all you need.” He said, his voice shaking.
Ten minutes later, he was still in the toilet cubicle, and the tears had not stopped. He didn’t know who to talk to, so he spoke to the only one who knew and understood everything he felt.
“Father, I can’t believe it. I thought I was safe, my future secure. Everything has crumbled before me, and I am assailed by worry for Tina and Ebiere. What do I tell them? Will I have enough money for Ebiere’s school fees before she resumes? How will we survive this, and for how long? I lay my life before you, father. Help me overcome. I need your strength now.”
He lay before God in His heart and worshipped when something he said hit him. Had his job become his security? Did he agree with that false statement? Didn’t the word of God say that the word of God formed worlds? Would he stay down in depression, allowing the devil to build strongholds in his mind?
Ronald shook himself awake, then stood up straight. The odor of the toilet penetrated his consciousness, and he unlocked the door fast and fled. He walked to his table, not noticing the stares from his colleagues, and packed as people patted him on the back and wished him well. Ronald smiled at them while meditating on the word God had given from the beginning of the week. The more he thought about them, piecing them together, he could see a map in his mind leading him from start to finish, showing him how God prepared him for the event of that day.
God’s peace settled in his mind. God’s wisdom and understanding ushered light into his darkness. He picked his things and walked to Lola’s office, and hugged her with a smile.
“I cried o; it was such a shock.” He said with a short burst of laughter. “God has been preparing me for this, but I didn’t know. I am alright, Lola. He is my strength, now more than ever. Shouldn’t we rejoice in times such as this when his strength can be manifest in our weakness? Thank you for everything, greet Tunde, and kiss the kids for me. We will talk soon; my twenty minutes are up.” He said, smiling as Lola’s head continued to bob up and down at his words, the tears shimmering in her eyes, and her smile wide. He turned and left, but she called his name at the door.
“God bless you, my brother, and friend. God’s strength is showing in your weakness. I bless God for your life.” She said.
He nodded, with a smile and walked out, head held high.
Till next time, be transformed!!!