by Kristin Baker
The dawning of a new year doesn't really excite me very much anymore. Of course, I make resolutions--some of them I even keep. Sure, I spend a few minutes on January 1st saying a little prayer, making a wish, reflecting over the old year and hoping the year to come will be full of promise, at least a few of our dreams will come true, and that nothing really bad will happen over the next twelve months.
But mostly, I'm just grateful we have the day off, and I spend New Year's Day wondering how much nagging I'll have to do before the Christmas decorations will come down (they're still up).
However, the first week of 2011 started out rather differently than the beginnings of years past. My husband went back to work after lunch in the middle of a seemingly normal week, then came back home a half hour later with an armload of paperwork and a panicked expression on his face. He'd been laid off, because his department wasn't getting a contract they'd expected, or something like that. He was one of two who lost their jobs that day.
As could be expected, this sent our family into a whirlwind of fear, despair, and indecision. It's amazing how quickly one can go from feeling reasonably secure in life, to "rug pulled out from under your feet" scared, in the space of a few moments. Dennis paced the house for two days talking to himself, looking lost and bewildered. I realized, with increasing alarm, just how much my husband placed his own sense of self-worth into being able to provide for his family. (I've since learned from other women who have been through this, that it's a normal trait for most men. Whatever. Guys are funny like that.)
As for myself, I suddenly got that nesting instinct that I never had when I was pregnant, and I hopped up from the computer and started cleaning. I finally grabbed the Laundry Monster around the horns and wrestled it into submission (although, my friends, I can tell you the Laundry Monster is still viciously fighting back. I WILL win this time, though!). I reminded myself of the mother in that 80's movie, The Day After. Faced with the threat of nuclear war, she went nuts cleaning her house, instead of going down into the basement for shelter. She, like me, was desperately trying to cling to some sense of normalcy.
Nearly two weeks later, a new sense of normalcy has settled over our house. My husband has a few prospects, and is going to job-seeking seminars and getting his resume out everywhere. He still paces, but he's not scaring me anymore by having conversations with himself. Our family has banded together and become closer in our efforts to comfort our fears and cooperate more to get things done.
Dennis recently confided in me that losing his job may have been the answer to a recent prayer of his. Feeling that we'd hit a spiritual rut, and that he was becoming complacent in his career and not working to the best of his abilities, he took these concerns to the Lord. Literally days later, the apparent answer came in a rather jolting way. (Always be careful what you pray for!)
This revelation was a confirmation of what I was starting to suspect: Our temporary crisis is a blessing in disguise. Doors are beginning to open where we hadn't seen doors before. Many dear friends are popping out of the woodwork and offering support and assistance, or just a listening ear when I need that more than anything else. Both of us feel that, although still scary and uncertain, this will be over soon enough and we can breathe a sigh of relief. I may have to go back to work at Denny's for a while, we may need to tighten our belts, or we might have to move--but I'm ready to face whatever is in store for us, because I strongly feel that this was meant to happen.
I can't say that my house is now spotless or that the Laundry Monster has been vanquished at last, but this new year has definitely begun with some major changes, for us. Maybe it's time to start to getting excited about New Year's Day again. By this time next year, who knows what will have happened? What company will my husband end up employed with? Will we be in a new home? In a different town or state? And will I finally land that deal with my future amazing agent and/or publisher? Whatever happens, I resolve to spend the entire year not taking anything for granted, with an appreciation for all blessings, great or small.
Even blessings in disguise.