Turning Points in Spiritual Growth

What I gained when I lost my job

I was delighted to be back at the ballet school where I had held a senior position years earlier. The person who hired me this time knew me but said that a new artistic team would be coming in soon to manage the school and the ballet company. I began teaching as this transition was taking place.

At year’s end, I was responsible for a class showcase for my students. Throughout rehearsals, I sensed a change in my immediate supervisor and another manager I’d known in previous years. They weren’t their normally chatty selves with me, but I did my professional best with my students and got good feedback.

At the time of scheduling the next year’s classes, I received an email telling me I wasn’t going to be asked back. My love for the school, my love for teaching my students, and my ego all took a whopping blow. 

I decided to try persuading the new team to reconsider. They didn’t know me, I reasoned. But while this attempt persuaded some, it ruffled others’ feathers, which resulted in a tense meeting with management where I was told I wouldn’t be needed after the last month of classes. 

I waited until I got to the car to cry over losing a position at a place where I had experienced such joy and which had given me so many fond memories. I felt loss, sadness, and hurt. But my biggest issue was a haunting doubt that maybe I wasn’t a good teacher after all. For the next few weeks, I ruminated on the meeting, the performances, my classes—everything. I went over it all again and again and kept reliving the sadness.

Eventually I saw that this wasn’t helping, and I didn’t want to feel the sense of failure anymore. I had grown up singing and playing Christian Science hymns, and they had always offered me comfort. As I continued going to the dance studio to finish out my teaching year, I sang hymns on the way. One day, a couple of lines from Mary Baker Eddy’s poem “Mother’s Evening Prayer” came to thought: “Wait, and love more for every hate, and fear / No ill,—since God is good, and loss is gain” (Poems, p. 4

I thought about those lines often, understanding that love conquers hateful, unproductive thinking about ourselves and others, including those who may think negatively about us. This started slowly turning my thought around. The idea that “loss is gain” was tough to accept at the time because I was so focused on the loss of a wonderful teaching job and dear students. How could that possibly be a gain? But I held to that verse, as I had seen this idea work in my life many times before. I knew that since God is the source of all good and is always bestowing abundant blessings on His children, I couldn’t lose anything of real value.

I needed to write extensive end-of-year reports for my students. Centering my thought on Love, another name for God, I was able to focus on the desire to help my students progress. And things did begin to change. I spent less time thinking about my former job. I was also able to see how I’d handle situations differently down the road. 

I realized, too, that much of my ego and identity had been wrapped up in my job as a ballet teacher. As I affirmed that real worth and joy come from God, I felt more confident and peaceful.

Some months later, I was inspired to reach out to another ballet school. I was asked to come in for an interview. The interview went well, and I was asked to teach an audition class. Putting my whole attention on giving to those students helped quell the nervousness I felt. 

At the end of the class, the woman who would become my new supervisor told me how grateful she was that I was there and what a gift I would be to the organization. At that moment I was aware that Mrs. Eddy’s assurance that “loss is gain” was the real gift in this situation. I learned a valuable lesson that has served me well ever since. 

Looking at losses through a spiritual lens changes how we see events in our lives. And it can open doors to new opportunities.

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