I need to get something off my chest, and believe this may be a place to do it.
Thanks for the opportunity. Even if no one reads it all, I will feel better. 🙂
Relationships Gone Sour
Have you ever had a friend relationship with someone you worked with, served with, volunteered with or spent time with regularly for whatever reason, and then things changed for an unknown or unspecified, unspoken reason?
I have, and it is not fun nor funny. There is a fellow whom I will call Cal, who came to an organization where I was volunteering, and then he started to volunteer there as well. Cal was only there a short while when he heard the majority of guests / clients there knew me and were always coming to me to chat. It didn’t take him long to learn that I had started a Street Ministry a number of years previous, and he said how he wanted to see what we were doing, and after seeing us he said he wanted to join. This was all fine, as more volunteers are always welcome in ministry. It didn’t take too long until Cal had his own ideas and ways of doing things which were different from our ways. By this I am not saying we were inflexible, but we did have guidelines, and we operated under the banner of our church, and were accountable to the Pastors and Board. This is a protective measure for all. Cal does not like to be accountable to anyone, or take suggestions from anyone regarding his actions, and actually was suspended from the previously mentioned organization for a few months for not following instructions after repeated warnings.
To fast forward a number of months, Cal was back in the organization volunteering, as well as still with our team. He also, then started to go to the Downtown area on his own every day. He continued to attempt new things and pushing the boundaries. We did not have outrageous rules, just guidelines for safety of all, such as not to wander off alone, but always have at least two team members together, but when with our team he acted like he was still on his own whenever he desired, but gave out our supplies still.
As time went on, I heard he was making negative comments about me, with no substantiation, to others on the street. Some comments I did overhear directly, and when I spoke to Cal about them, in a flustered way he twisted and denied them.
I had been away from all ministry and volunteering for 6-8 months due to health issues, which finally was diagnosed as colon cancer, which surgery got rid of. The Director and Chaplain at the organization where I had volunteered called, and asked if I would come back when feeling well enough, and they were opening a new area of ministry they would like me to be a part of. When this started, and my first night on duty in this position, Cal was quite upset, although he attempted to cover it, asking me why I could be in that position dealing with, and praying for people, and no one else could. It was explained that some volunteers were not comfortable doing that. Over time there were some statements made that I heard of, or heard him say directly to another person about me. I brought these up for discussion, also suggesting we invite the Director or Chaplain to join us, but each offer was refused. It was a natural tendency to be cautious at all times of Cal and what may be said, and a couple of others also suggested I watch my back as far as he was concerned.
Recently Cal contacted me regarding an interaction I had a couple weeks previous with a guest at the Centre where we volunteer. The point in time was when a particular guest was extremely upset with another guest who continually took advantage of her, and then would ignore her. This guest, April, spoke to the Chaplain and myself about the situation, but did not like our responses, would not even listen, and stormed out. She stormed out right to Cal, standing outside the office where I was making out my report for the night. While out there she was yelling and calling me names and swearing wildly. I left the office and suggested she talk with me regarding her complaints about me, rather than talk to others. She again ran away, and I could not stop her, although I tried, because April had a history of cutting herself when upset.
Cal wrote that I didn’t handle the situation properly “for a man in my position”. I told him my purpose in leaving the office to speak with April was to tell her that it would be appreciated if she said things about me she didn’t like, to me, rather than to others. I also stated to Cal, that as he should recall, I have told him the exact same thing.
Before going home on the night in question, April waited around and apologized to the Chaplain and to me for her actions, and we have chatted many times since.
This is an ongoing situation it seems with Cal. In my reply to him, I also wrote of my feelings that he has been out to get me for some unknown reason for a long time, and I am always careful around him. I also mentioned about the couple of others who warned me to watch my back.
In finality, I suggested to Cal that I don’t believe I am responsible to answer to him, but if he wishes to contact the Director and Chaplain I would be more than happy to meet with them.
I hate situations like this, with tension when we are supposed to be working together, and have been considering and praying about what to do. The one thought that came to mind, was that even though our Lord Jesus knew that Judas, one of His apostles was going to betray Him, Jesus kept on with His regular tasks and ministries, and allowed Judas to continue to be a part of the twelve. After the betrayal we know that Judas ran and left the group permanently. Jesus did not have to do or say anything to him.
I know our Lord will give leadership, and He will guide me step by step.
Thanks for being there and letting me clear my mind.