Saturday, October 06, 2007

Reaping and Sowing

Many years ago, when I was a struggling college student, I had a job as a make-up artist with a major cosmetics line. A new department store opened with a managerial position with the same line, and I applied for it. My interview was a disaster. The account rep literally tore me to shreds: 'What makes you think you can work for us?', she screeched. 'Look at how you're dressed, and your eyeshadow and lipstick don't match your outfit.' On and on she continued until I literally shrank inside myself. I was totally devastated. Never before and never since had anyone so insulted me as this woman did.

Later, I was glad that I didn't get the job because the unfortunate soul who did get it complained about how awful that woman was to her. She berated and insulted her, the store personnel and anyone else she deemed worthy of hearing her tirades.

Last week, I got an e-mail from someone wanting to get on my boss' calendar. My boss usually does not interview people, and when she refers someone, she will let either myself or the recruiting department know. My boss confirmed that she did not know the woman in question, so I politely informed the applicant that my boss would not be able to accommodate her. A few days later, one of the recruiters came to me and said this same lady was in the office. She said she had an interview with my boss. I knew of no such appointment, but I knew I needed to handle the situation. My co-workers then started telling me the lady was weird. I asked to see her resume. They laughed because not only did she include a resume, but she had a portfolio filled with modeling pictures.

I reviewed the resume, and although at first I didn't recognize her name, I did recognize the name of the cosmetics company. When I saw her picture, though, it sealed it for me--this was the same woman who'd ripped me to shreds 15 years prior.

Immediately, I felt that awful surge of power and revenge come over me. This horrible woman, who berated me and wouldn't hire me years before was now coming to me for a job. Oh, how the hunter becomes the prey. I hate to admit this, but I seriously toyed with the idea of playing along with this woman's game and interviewing her. I would grill her with hard driving questions, and make her squirm. At the end of the grueling interview, I would ask, 'Do you remember me? You interviewed me 15 years ago and made me feel like crap. How does it feel now?' I told my co-workers that I knew of this lady. I told them how psychotic she was. It felt good.

Then, very quietly the Lord prompted me to look at her portfolio. I looked at her picture--she'd been a stunningly beautiful woman. Then, as I began to read it, I read where she'd battled breast cancer. He then told me to go in the lobby and take a look at the woman. I did. She was nothing of her former self. The years had not been kind to her, and it was obvious battling cancer had taken its toll on her physically. He then told me to reread her portfolio. As I did, I also realized that she'd mentioned that she'd "volunteered" with some mental health institutions. I don't know why, but because I am a caregiver for a mentally ill person, I really felt her "volunteering" was a little more involved than she'd indicated.

I felt so bad. Here I am, a Christian, and I was ready to avenge myself. I had just minutes before shred this person's reputation with my co-workers. I'd laughed at her. I felt justified in doing so because she'd been so awful to me. The funny thing is, until I'd seen her resume, I'd almost forgotten about that incident. I remember when it happened, that every time I'd see her I just felt such a hatred towards her. I eventually moved on to other jobs, and that time in my life was quickly forgotten, or so it seemed. I have always heard the scripture, 'Vengeance is mine', but it really meant nothing to me.

Growing up, my mother always told me to treat people right because you reap what you sow. I realized that life had dealt severely with this woman--she had been through a lot and was not working at the time. She indicated that she owned her own consulting business, but it was obvious with her being at our staffing firm that business was slow.

In all honesty, she was not a good fit for the company. She didn't have the background to suit most of the jobs we filled. I politely told her that we did not have any positions for her, but would keep her resume on file. She was very courteous, thanked me and left. I felt so spent afterwards. That whole episode taught me several things: One, be careful how you treat people in life because you never know when you will meet them again. That woman never knew what repercussions her actions in the past had in her present. Second, God is true to His word. He says whatever we sow, we'll reap. If we sow love, we'll reap love. If we sow bitterness, we'll reap bitterness. Lastly I learned that bitterness, anger and strife really are killers. I'm not a doctor, and I cannot say that this is a fact, but I really felt God showing me that bitterness and pent up frustations and emotions can lead to devastating illness.

I learned so much in one hour that day. I pray that I can always remember the lessons.