“I’m leaving.”

“I’m leaving.”

“I’m leaving.”

How I hate those words. I have heard them so many times in my working life and almost every single time they brought nothing but sadness. Especially when those words were said by someone whom I enjoyed working with.

My initial reaction is a shock that slowly settles in as I try to understand and explain to my own flailing mind and emotions. And then – nothingness. Just. Plain. Nothing.

It usually takes me a while to start enjoying new people after times like this. When someone new comes instead of my friend, I feel almost as I would betray him/her if I would like their “substitute.”

Last night, after hearing the news, I wasn’t even shocked. I was scared out of my brain. Thinking of the things that would have to be done, thinking of the past experience…

At my previous job, after four years, we got managers. It was natural since the team got bigger. During the first year, however, I had four different managers and the last one, that stayed, was the reason I started to hate each morning when I had work and that manager was the reason I left the job that otherwise was interesting to me. That previous experience looms ominously over my head, whispering in my ears “This is about to happen again.”

What makes matters worse (or not?) is the fact that the reasons are valid and I can’t even argue about it. It’s nothing work-related and I would probably do the same thing. Yet…

As I was going to work this morning, this situation on my mind, I thought of the other story, found in Matthew 16.

Then Jesus made it clear to his disciples that it was now necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, submit to an ordeal of suffering at the hands of the religious leaders, be killed, and then on the third day be raised up alive.

Peter took him in hand, protesting, “Impossible, Master! That can never be!”

But Jesus didn’t swerve. “Peter, get out of my way. Satan, get lost. You have no idea how God works.”

The reasons there were also important. It had nothing to do with Jesus wanting to get rid of his disciples and leave them on their own. Yet, he had to leave and Peter wasn’t having that.

I’ve heard many sermons about this and how could Peter not believe in Jesus and let Him do what He knew He had to do. Those preachers, I think, were forgetting one basic thing: Peter was a human being. A human being with emotions and fears. We all hate uncertainty (I have yet to meet the person who thrives on uncertainty… though I’ve met many who crave the opposite.)

I wonder… did Peter simply worry about Jesus getting killed or was he more afraid of the fact that he (and the rest of disciples) would be left alone after three years of hanging out together, learning from the Teacher, following his every step?

I wonder… did Peter even hear the last part of Jesus’ words about “raised up alive on the third day” or his brain simply stopped at the words “be killed”?

As I read that story, I can’t help but think that I would react just like Peter did. Without knowing the full story, it’s scary to think that your friend is about to leave you. If it scares me that my colleague is leaving my company (and not dying), I can only imagine how Peter was scared (along with the other 11).

Both stories have good sides and good reasons. One day, we’ll know why it all happened and we’ll celebrate together. For now, we just have to keep going.

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