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  • HeatherJoy Bagnall

Jelly Bean

There is something oddly satisfying about jelly beans.


Recently, I worked for the worst company I have ever been apart of. Why were they the worst? Too many reasons to say. But, when a company you work for creates the conditions for PTSD and you become physically ill and start passing out you can bet the noxious poison is there and it will lead you down a dark path.


We ‘parted ways.’ As one of the executives so amusingly stated, we, “Heather JOY and they (name not worth mentioning)” were not marriage material. And, in the midst of a pandemic, in response to my filing of a harassment inquiry and asking for assistance, I was fired. No, I didn’t cry. I thanked God! Months later, I am still unemployed and healing more slowly than I ever thought was possible. I liken it to the time I had carbon monoxide poisoning. I knew I had it, I was sick and exhausted, but you could not see anything was wrong from the outside. This is like that, but worse. It was not my space or place, because I could not be accepted for who I am. The reality, I will not be the same person when I heal from this as I was.


“What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.’ Yeah, maybe just cram it. That is akin to saying we have a choice to live with PTSD or to happily choose PTG (post-traumatic growth). No, by receiving ethical treatment for PTSD, we make strides towards PTG. I am not a brain expert but I do know that PTSD is emotion-based, where trauma is somehow trapped in the amygdala and hippocampus where our recent memories are stored instead of being filed in long-term memories that are allowed to fade. It is not the way we think, it is the way our brain responds. So this trauma, this work-related PTSD might make a different part of stronger. It has killed the trust I had in humanity. To see a former musician refuse to stop his actions even though I asked him so many times. I am a musician also. How can one create such a humanistic art if he is berating and condescending of another life? I trusted that he cared. I thought he cared for me and for the bottom line, our students and teachers. I was sadly mistaken. I will return to this...



I recently had a conversation with Rose. We are in the same Women’s Leadership and Ministry class.

She was upset because the men in her congregation were being unkind.

I responded, “It is odd, you have had men nitpick at your sermons, I had them nitpick at my life until I left the church and community I was a part of - and they kept the guy I was married to! It was long ago and I can kind of giggle about that now. They deserved each other perhaps. 💕

Then future churches were not welcoming of my sons and me because I was a single mother. Even after his death, they were not accepted at ‘churches’ because they were ‘fatherless sons.’ Never was it my plan to be a divorced woman. Never was it my plan to be a single mother, Never were any of these my choice, yet they were held against us. Reflecting, these communities, at that time, caused trauma and heartbreak. They taught my children to dislike the 'church.' It has taken over a decade for my sons to see that those people deserve grace and prayers. Those 'churches' were not what Jesus called us to create. Those 'churches' were not the epitome of the Biblical teachings. Those are humans who have gone astray. We love them, but we do not have to love their actions nor their words. But, we can love them like jelly beans until their crunchy coating cracks and they are all squishy again!


Much love to you and your jellybean congregation!

Go forth and make them squishy! 😂



What do the worst place in the world to work for and jelly beans have in common? The worst place to work is run by self-centered leaders who have lost touch with the bottom line, our students, and with the music of humanity. But, perhaps they are jelly beans. I cannot hate them, I do not want to. Hate is too heavy a burden to bear. But their actions were wrong. I forgive them for not hearing me and not helping me. That was their choice, I cannot carry that in my heart. I need that space in my heart back to once again grow love and trust. I wish to remain a gumdrop. I do not want to turn into a jelly bean. Perhaps one day, someone or something will crack the crusted layer and the squishy goodness that brought them into education in the first place will once again be warmed by the laughter and music of our children.






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