A few weeks ago, my college buddy Amy wrote a post on her blog titled "I Don't Care What You Call It." The subject of the post was unemployment. I remember thinking at the time, "thank God that is not us any more." Apparently, I thought too soon.
Mike was laid off on Friday. We were both caught pretty off guard by this. He said his boss was very apologetic, though Mike knew that his position was kind of an experiment -- one which maybe never had complete buy-in from the owner of the company. Initially, we both had a fairly non-chalant reaction to the news. We've been here before. We can do this.
Separately, we've both considered what the blessings might be in this turn of events. Mike will be free to spend more time with his mother, whose condition continues to deteriorate. Maybe this was the window opening to make it possible for him to go to the Biggest Loser ranch (auditions are next Saturday). He can focus on the house and purging all the clutter that has collected over the past 13 years since we moved in. There will be no question of who is available to pick the kids up from school.
Over the course of the weekend, Mike has cycled through a range of emotions -- disbelief, hope, anger, frustration, sadness -- while I remained pretty stoic.
Until church this morning. I think church is the place where I can let my guard down. Where I bring myself before God and let all my anxiety and fear and confusion tumble forward.
This morning, my conversation with God went something like this:
"What is it? What haven't we learned yet? The past 4 or 5 years have seemed like we are swinging from one crisis to the next. Unemployment. Separation. Illness. Financial strain brought on by all the above. What now, God? In the last two or three months, I've finally felt like we were becoming whole again. Paying off debt, learning to trust and love again, enjoying each other's company. What the hell are we missing that our path keeps plunging us into chaos and disarray? What do You want?!"
Truthfully, I'm not blaming God. I don't think He has cursed us. But I do wonder what lesson we are supposed to embrace. I wish I could find it in that daily "God wants you to know" app on Facebook. Sitting in church, I heard Father talk about St. Francis and how after his conversion to the Lord, he was elated and joyful to be suffering in the service of God. And I began to think that perhaps my answer is somewhere in there.
Maybe our focus has been too internal. Perhaps we've been too focused on our own crosses and not doing enough to help others carry theirs. Is the clutter and chaos inside our home a symptom of too much time spent within -- on clinging to things inside? Will freeing our home of the trappings of wants and freeing our minds of the trappings of "us and ours" bring to life a new reality for us?
Perhaps a shift in focus like that won't bring Mike a job any sooner. But it just might make the waiting a little more bearable.