Monday, January 17, 2011

Our New Year Surprise

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.

6 comments:

  1. Wow Kristin, you are taking this better than I would. I'd totally freak out. Maybe that's because I'm the "breadwinner" for my small family of self. Good luck to your husband and keep up the cheerful attitude. It helps.

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  2. Those blessings in disguise are sometimes the hardest to swallow, but often times bring the greatest growth. Good luck to you and yours!

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  3. Way to go, Kristin. I've learned that blessings often come wrapped in layers of challenging wrappings. The Lord does watch over us. We've been through lay offs so many times, I've lost count. If you ever need a listening ear, I'm here for ya! One such job loss lead to unemployment for 18 months out of a two year period. The most important thing is to stay calm and pray..and rely on the Lord. With a firm foundation in Christ, you can survive anything. hugs~

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  4. It's still pretty scary, and I have my panicky moments, believe me! The hardest part for me is learning to let go of those little comfort things that add up when every dollar counts: a milkshake run, or that cute shirt on clearance. It's a learning experience! I got too spoiled; if I come out of this with a better ability to resist the urge for an order of french fries, JUST because I'm out running errands and feel like it, then it's been good for me. And good for the kids to learn this too!

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  5. Thanks for sharing your insight and growth during this tough time. We are going on 2 years now since my husband's wngineering company lost $650,000 from clients that went bankrupt. How thankful I am for our food storage and for my own ability to teach guitar and harp. We shall get through this, and have learned just how much the Lord truely loves us. He knows each one of us, and will comfort and bless us. We have grown so much as a family, and learned much about following the prophet.

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  6. Hearing others' comments and advice on how they're dealing with the same kind of thing has been so helpful and encouraging. I'm going through a scared, but still trying to have faith, phase. Hubby's been sending out his resume and following up, but hasn't even had so much as a bite. I used to work at Denny's, and after I quit they always said how much they wanted me back--so I went in to talk to the manager last week and although they're hiring, it seems they don't want me back after all. I have to hold on to that hopeful feeling I had a week ago!

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