Toward the middle of last year, our cable company finally figured out the problem with the connection in my mother-in-law’s room; she no longer needs me to come upstairs and tinker with the system. Then my son got his driver’s license; he no longer needs to be driven to the various activities that require his presence. A few months after that, the company I’d been with since 2000 informed me that it was reorganizing and had no position for me in the new organization.
Everywhere I turn, I’m getting laid off!
Truth be told, I’m thrilled about the cable, since all I was doing was basically rebooting the cable boxes and blowing dust of the coaxial until the signal decided to come back on its own. And I actually kind of like watching my son become an independent young man, since he is also a young man who genuinely enjoys the company of his parents and often chooses us over other options.
But the reorganization thing is testing something I’ve claimed over the years and now have to prove; to quote myself, “I don’t define myself by my job.” That’s a lot easier to say when you’re getting a living wage direct-deposited to your bank account every two weeks than it is when you’re 50-plus, casting resumes into the ether and watching your highly-taxed severance package drop like a mercury thermometer in the Arctic.
I don’t particularly miss the job; I miss the fact of it. God intended us to work. The Bible tells me so. Going to work, in my mind anyway, is an integral part of my end of the marriage covenant. Even though my wife, thank God, has a job that provides us with medical insurance, being a husband and father without a job is truly awful.
This is wholly my problem, being an old-fashioned sort of guy. But from my vantage point, I should be able to tell my wife, “Michael only has another couple of years at home before college. I know you’d rather be around for him than working. Quit and find something else after he graduates high school. We can get by on my salary.”
But I can’t say that—and not just because I can’t do the math regarding our needs (I don’t touch the finances, because I love my family and don’t want to get sent to jail because I forgot to carry a “2”). I can’t say it because, well, I’m at home typing a blog this afternoon instead of at work earning a buck.
Here’s the good thing, though. I’m not miserable. Most days. I’ve been called to trust and, through God’s grace and the intercession of Our Lady, I’m trusting.
God has never let us down and He never will. There’s something He needs me to do or understand and I’m keeping an eye out for it. And He has blessed me with a wonderfully supportive wife and son (and mother-in-law) who have my back through it all.
There’s one big drawback though. What was I thinking when I gave up television for Lent?