Personal Testimony: I put "all of my heart and half of my soul" into the work I had come to love so much and paid a heavy physical and emotional price for doing this. I believe it was God's intervention that kept me from becoming a permanent emotional cripple.
In 1974, I was hired as one of the first tour guides at the soon to be opened to the public W. W. Mayo House. This 1859 pioneer home was hand built by Dr. William W. Mayo, who later with his two sons founded the world renowned Mayo Clinic. In 1977, I became its site manager. Most, if not all, of the 24 state historic sites of Minnesota reflect the personality, interest and skills of its site manager. This is especially true at sites located outside of the Twin Cities. I did research, created interpretive programs, hired and trained staff, planned and executed special events. In fact, I did everything there was to do to operate and interpret this historic site. I became very attached and devoted. I came to deeply love the historic home and the work I was doing along with enjoying greatly the wonderful exchange with many adults and children who toured the home.
In the early 1980s, I felt I was outgrowing the little Mayo home and desired to expand my role with the state historical society. I don't exactly remember the sequence of events, but my desire was rejected by the society being told I could not advance within the society because I did not have a college degree.
Emotionally, I had put all of my eggs in one basket. The sense of rejection experienced was devastating. I began questioning every value I held, especially those having to do with the value of hard work, honesty, openness and fairness. I entered into an awful downward spiral. I remember standing in the Mayo home parlor and having the feeling that I had been punched in my abdomen and part of my insides ripped out leaving behind an empty hole. I remember saying, I have given all of my heart and half of my soul to the Mayo House. I had married myself to the historical society and it was a fairly one-sided commitment. After feeling such a sense of rejection, in August of 1983, I began to cry. I cried hour after hour, day after day for the next three months. I was in tears more hours of each day than not. I felt arthritis going wild in my body. By 1985, I was walking with a cane.
Interestingly, I had actually started taking college courses through television and was by then taking night courses at a state university. You do know when it is God who is intervening in your circumstance. I do so believe, He intervened in this circumstance even though I was not walking in a right relationship with Him. I was taking a course in business law. A chapter was devoted to job burn out. Discussed in the chapter was the different stages and levels of job burn out. As I read this information, I realized my symptoms were those of level 4 and that I was bumping hard against stage/level 5, which was described as a place of no return, in other words a total breakdown. After reading this, thanks to God for showing me where I was headed, I put a stop to the forward progression and began to fight back and began the struggle to overcome this affliction. Throughout this entire experience, I told no person what I was going through. My children did not know, nor did my husband, nor any other family member. This is the first time I have shared the experience in any detail with others.
This experience was so draining that I lost all of what is called reserve energy. This is the extra energy people have to cope with situations out of the normal such as being under some form of stress. I developed an explosive temper because of my lack of being able to cope in a normal way. It took years to restore this reserve energy.
It is still hard for me to believe that I completed work on and received a college degree. Beginning in 1982, at age 37, I started back to college. I still had nearly two years of college work left. In December of 1985, I graduated with honors from Mankato State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in mass communications with minors completed in American history and business administration.
I was now ready for a new position and role with the state historical society, right? In March of 1986, a site manager's meeting was held. During the first session an announcement was made concerning the closing of several historic sites and the reduction of programs at other sites. This was in response to a million dollar cut in funds from the state of Minnesota. The Mayo House was one of the sites to be closed and because of its small size it would not reopen until and unless another organization agreed to take over the operation of the site.
I had not regained that much of my reserve energy so I could not help myself and I started to cry. I cried through the entire day, all night long and throughout the next day of the two-day session. Of course, looking back it seems so foolish. I made a public spectacle of myself, but I excused it knowing what I was still going through and this was just too much to handle. My beloved Mayo Home was going to be closed!
I went through a heavy grieving process. When I got to the stage of acceptance, I could not accept it. So, I went to work and organized a group of five to become the board of directors, wrote the proposal, did what needed to be done to incorporate as a non-profit organization and in April of 1986, the Mayo House Interpretive Society (MHIS) came into legal existence. The state historical society accepted the proposal, the Mayo House reopened in mid-May, and MHIS through a management agreement has been operating the site ever since. From 1986 through 2008, I served as the executive director and head history interpreter. It was my baby. The decision to stay and care for the Mayo home and its future cost me the dream of advancing my role and employment with the state historical society.
Perhaps as a way to compensate for the loss of my dream, in 1987, I decided to run for our local school board. I was elected and served three terms on the board. Also, I freelanced with the local newspaper writing feature stories for a couple of years.
In the spring of 1990, I finally went under the knife and had a full hip replacement. The arthritis chewed up the cartilage in my right hip. The doctors had been trying to postpone surgery for as many years as possible because of my young age. I was 45 years old. The surgeon told me that he found chunks of cartilage floating around inside of me. He said I must have a high tolerance for pain since it was bone rubbing against bone.
Also in 1990, I established the Mayoview History Center and started a small gift shop in the center that became located in the building next to the Mayo home. While still on crutches, I physically set up and opened the center. Always operating on only a shoestring budget needing the dollars for our public programming, I did many things myself on my own time. The purpose of the center was to have more space to better accommodate visitors such as large bus tours, house an office and display exhibits especially on the history associated with the home. The Mayo home was also lived in by three generations of the Cosgrove family who founded and developed the Green Giant Company, and, it served the community as the public library for 31 years.
Along the path of this difficult journey, I took into my heart an attitude; I swore I would never allow anything or anyone to get this close to me ever again. A part of me hardened toward life and the world. Along this journey, I lost my tears. I lost the capability to cry. For years I could not cry.
Two examples of this being a long-term consequence are:
When my father died in September of 2000, I had to force tears to come. Can you imagine not being able to freely shed tears when a close loved one dies?
In April of 2001, the Mayo home was burglarized. Room after room was stripped of its smaller artifacts. I was the one who discovered the burglary. Being as intimate with the Mayo home as I had been, this was like being personally violated. The artifacts that had been used for years as tools when guiding visitors through the home were just gone. I felt awful, but I could not cry.
Born Again In Jesus
At about 12:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 2, 2001, I cried out to God and repented surrendering my self and committing my life to Jesus Christ. My spirit was quickened and the Holy Spirit entered and indwelled me. I cried for the first time in many years. I wept for two and a half hours before falling to sleep. In the morning when I awakened, I felt at peace. I experienced the peace that passeth all understanding. God had given me back my tears. He restored my ability to cry. Thank you Jesus for making this possible!
I did what I swore I would never again do. I gave all of my heart and ALL of my soul to someone. That someone is Jesus Christ. Jesus totally filled the empty hole inside me. There is no emptiness anywhere within me. He made a proposal of marriage and I received and accepted His proposal. My Lord and Savior, Jesus made a personal promise to me that I know He will always keep. He said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." With humility and full confidence, I have again put all of my eggs in one basket and intend to keep them there. An intimate personal relationship with my very best friend is what I need and will always have in Jesus Christ.
Today, I am on a new journey walking a different path. I walk as a daughter of God betrothed to Jesus Christ. I understand more and more the work of the Holy Spirit, the very resurrection power of God, who now lives in me. I am learning how to resist the oppression of the devil. Worshipping and walking in spirit and truth wearing the full armor of God at all times is the answer. With my "self" submitted to God, I stand up and resist the devil and his oppressive ways and he and his oppression (including sickness) must and does flee from me. James 4:7 All praise and thanksgiving to our Lord and Savior.
I love our triune God with all of my heart, all of my soul, all of my mind and all of my strength. I am in a two-sided love relationship, the best relationship of all.
God IS love!
This was interesting, thanks for sharing. A lot of dreams and plans I hoped for did not happen the way I wanted, but I am thankful God has always been there.
I hope that God Blesses all that you do, and thanks for sharing your faith here! YBIC, Billy
Praise the Lord for His peace that passeth all understanding and thank you for sharing your testimony. May your testimony touch someone today.
Your testimony reminds me of Psalm 118:8 "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man".
Be a blessing here.
Dorthy, praise God sister! The Lords work is never done! it is our testamonies, life experiences as a christian, that lead to good examples and encourage others to know and come to Christ!
God is always there... we just need to stop and listen,,, and sometimes, he will do whatever he needs to do FOR YOU to get to know HIM.
I have the same kind of testamony,, please read mine if you fill compelled.. Happy Thanksgiving!
God Bless, IN HIM
Wow this is really a great blog! Thanks for sharing!
May the Lord bless,
Thanks to all for your uplifting and informative comments. I think of the experience I went through before I came to know Jesus as the most destructive of my life experiences. Jesus has restored me and I walk in confidence of His promises and my relationship with Him. I know He will never leave nor forsake me.
Very uplifted by your experience. I got goose bumps when I read these particular words :-p He made a proposal of marriage and I received and accepted His proposal. My Lord and Savior, Jesus made a personal promise to me that I know He will always keep. He said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
The gift of hope is back in my soul