The day Mr. Wonderful gave me a big hug and whispered in my ear “I lost my job” I did what any supportive spouse would do. I made it all about me.
When my spouse was having what was inarguably one of the harder days of his life, I found it helpful to adhere to the oldest tenet of the supportive spouse in a healthy marriage: freak out and deflect all attention to your needs. Immediately.
While he was still processing the loss of a long time position — I was clutching my heart and wailing. Once I got done being incredulous and insisting he was kidding — as if he had suddenly come into possession of the worst sense of humor ever, I resorted to curling up in a near fetal position on a bench in our kitchen. I was practicing deep breathing and imagining the worst.
My nickname should be Henny Penny. Since I was a very small child I have worried that a setback means the sky is falling. I am prone to hysteria. I was convinced we would end up living in a box under a bridge. Not a nice box, like you might find with your dishwasher, dryer, or refrigerator. This would be a fixer-upper type thing. I’m thinking fruit crate with a shoe box addition.
As you can see I am a rock in tense situations.
Job loss is listed as one of the most devastating incidents after death and divorce. Careful reading will warn you that a person experiencing job loss may turn to drugs to cope. How is this possible? Without an income who can afford a drug habit? Heroin is not free.
The high cost of meth aside, we were very blessed by the Lord who provided in too many ways to count. We have family and friends who rallied with employment leads, emotional support and most of all — prayers.
Almost immediately people who had worked with Mr. Wonderful over the years reached out with employment opportunities, commiseration and prayer. Some went so far as to use the Internet and their old-fashioned detective skills to track us down at home. Every single one of them impressed us with their care, concern, follow-through and ethics. I cannot say enough that we felt the Lord with us every step of the way.
Most telling, on the night he lost his job, our daughter said, incredulously, “Daddy seems happier somehow.” The strange thing? He did.
He does not take lightly the support of his family. Like legions of others he is a hard worker who gets up early, works hard, and goes in late — even overnight if necessary. He was well compensated for this sacrifice.
Still, the job had begun to change him. He was short tempered and often stressed. The night he lost his job he worried for his family, of course. Mostly his wife, who was stomping around and muttering about having to live in a shoe and eat ramen noodles exclusively. He was also fairly jovial and seemed almost more relaxed somehow.
I finally got my breath back and realized we were going to be fine. There were ups and downs and days, hours, minutes and moments that changed from doubt to faith and back again.
We have each other and our wits and some pretty amazing resumes. We also have an abundance of faith. Three weeks to the day of the loss of his job Mr. Wonderful received more than one wonderful offer. It was a blessing to have a choice and one we were grateful to make.
Change can be scary — especially unexpected change. At the same time sometimes change is just what is needed to make you see you are on the wrong path. Change can put you on the right one, even if you initially land there kicking and screaming and clutching your heart.
We have our eyes firmly fixed toward the future. We have love, laughter, prayer and opportunity.
In all this, and perhaps most importantly, we now have faith that what seemed like a bad thing was really the best thing, after all.
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