Captain’s Log 5,820
There is all sorts of hoopla going on around here about the opera. It is closing down and it appears that the director and his wife were making BOO-KOO bucks. If they get laid off, their severance packages will be somewhere around three million dollars.
I have a real problem with this. A good captain of a non-profit ship would have reduced salaries from the top down. I heard all the excuses about why that was not possible (contractual). A decent person would have accepted that and then written a personal check to the organization. If they cannot take it out of your salary, then find another way to do the right thing.
I was in a similar situation when I worked in a church. A once robust institution with 850 members was dwindling to nothing due to really really BAD management by the new minister. The day we all had our salaries slashed by 25%, she explained that she was under contract and would receive her regular pay. And then, she took us out into the parking lot and showed us her new car that her husband had bought for her. On the same damn day! Just after we got our bad news! She became petulant and tyrannical when we didn’t show enough awe for her new toy. It was….beyond amazing.
I was eventually terminated from that job. As much as that stung at the time, I was relieved. I no longer had to tolerate the antics of a narcissist. That worked for a time, but people like that keep showing in our lives no matter what we do. I know they are in our lives to teach us some sort of cosmic lesson, but I will be damned if I can figure out what that is supposed to be. What works for me now is this. When I encounter someone so self-absorbed and taken with their own sense of power, I am grateful that I do not treat people like pieces of crap. I am grateful I have a moral code that allows me to examine my own conscience and determine my responsibility for whatever happens, good or bad. I am grateful to have enough strength to stand up to people like that and stuff it back in their faces – even if it means losing a job.
I became a pariah in that church even though I never attended there again. People in leadership were warned that I was a crazy troublemaker even though my accomplishments were stellar and noteworthy. None of that seemed to matter anymore. Very few people had the nerve to stand beside me. They were warned to keep their distance from me. They chose to stand in fear which was in direct opposition to what the church taught about handling fear. That was hard for me. But I understood what fear can do. Fear is evil. It makes people freeze and do nothing regardless of their theological training.
Two people in the inner sanctum of that church had the nerve to support me. They spoke openly that the minister was wrong. She threatened them and said she would take away their theological licenses. It was that ugly. Both of those people left the church in disgust. I was so very proud of them and grateful for their actions.
Apologies from other people came later. Some of them several years later – after those people were also trounced by the minister for some “wrong” or simply disagreeing with her dictates. I welcomed their overtures. I felt I could have a connection with them as people, but I have never felt comfortable engaging again with a church. I tried. I was hired at another church to run the youth program, and that didn’t work out either for reasons not worthy of a mention. It just didn’t work. I lost my mojo for spiritual community. And it has not even tapped at the door for me to go back. I doubt if it ever will. Once you are out of the club, you are out of the club.
I don’t mind being out of the club. I learned a lot from that experience. I learned just how strong I really am.
Why this whole opera thing brought about these old memories is beyond my understanding. Sometimes it just happens. This journal takes on a life of its own.