When I first opened my business, I joined Rotary. It’s a service club, not a business club, but a friend was President and wanted a website, and the only way to build a website for a Rotary club is to be a member because there’s so much to communicate and learn and that’s the easiest path to learning. I met a lot of amazing people in that club, but one person, in particular, frustrated me to no end. He asked a lot of “giving” from me – free services and consultations – with very little in return. I could have said no, but I learned a long time ago that you just never know what will come from the goodwill created. Fast forward over ten years, and during the pandemic, one of our only new clients was introduced to us by this person and that new client ended up referring us to one of our biggest projects of all time. All because of a few hours here and there spent helping someone and gaining their “advocacy”.

Later in my Rotary time, a new member came in, and we did not get along. We both had marketing backgrounds, but at this point, I’d been the communications person for my Rotary club for a while, and his ideas and contributions went against my standards…and he was very aggressively trying to “oust” me and take it all over. I stood my ground, but it was very disconcerting, and I almost left the club because of it. I was convinced to stay, however, and had a new president that recognized my value, and as a result, he left. It was pretty nasty, honestly. He did not have nice things to say, and quite honestly, neither did I. Then, around the time of my diagnosis this past winter, he returned to the club, and it was like he was a new person. Super helpful. Complementary. Not at all aggressive. Just a nice guy. My feelings toward him softened, and I embraced working with him, and as a result, everything has been better. At one point, I loathed this person – and now I consider him an ally and friend. More than that, he’s taught me valuable lessons that will stay with me for the rest of my life about grace, humility, and forgiveness, and when I spoke to him about this, he said he felt the same.

I really love when difficult experiences in life end up leading to outcomes pleasantly unexpected. It shows me that no matter what you feel now, it can change. No matter how angry or upset or frustrated or just dissatisfied, you are people, and circumstances and feelings can change. And if you’re willing to give grace, humble yourself, and give and accept forgiveness – amazing things can happen. I’ve witnessed this in so many ways over the years, both here at Bethesda and in my personal life. And it’s always extraordinary. It feels like a piece of God’s tapestry is revealed. Like witnessing God’s glory.

Have a surprising & wonderful summer,

Deanna Rivera