On August 28th, my wife lost her job. 24 hours later, I lost mine. This blog is a continuation of the day-by-day chronicling of our emotional journey back to employment. This is bound to be upsetting, hilarious and hopeful.
August 31, 2014
Got the feeling not everyone knew quite what to do with us at Church today. That’s okay, I didn’t really know what to say either. There were some warm hugs, so that was nice. One woman came up to Erin, stuck her finger in her face, and proclaimed, “We are praying for you and you WILL have a new job by the end of the week.” Then she walked off.
The theme of Sacrament Meeting was dealing with adversity, which was appropriate and just mean. Erin and I held it together pretty well until the rest hymn “Count Your Many Blessings.” This is one of those hymns I’ve always found a little trite, but today it could not have been more profound. Each word hit like a mack truck carrying a heavy payload of truth. We wept our way through the first verse and a half before stopping for want of being able to form coherent sounds. We read the words and listened to the congregation sing after that, and that was enough. Their voices never before filled that chapel so completely and beautifully.
Here’s the second verse, but they’re all good:
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
During the second and third hour of church a friend and employment lawyer sat with Erin and me to help us figure this thing out. He told us he doesn’t have many talents in life, but this–THIS is what he’s good at. This is how he serves people. We found ourselves not just talking about severance agreements and contracts, but also the burden and frustration of the past few days. He listened to all of it. When I apologized, he said it was all part of the job. It’s really not, I think.
That afternoon, Erin and I took the kids to go visit a friend who wasn’t able to make it to church because of a recent surgery. Neither she nor her husband had any idea we were suddenly unemployed, so the conversation stayed mercifully away from us and we got to focus on their needs and be just another happy couple again. I don’t know that we’ll have another moment like that before this thing is through, so even in the moment I treasured it.
When we finally got home, we played some family Mario Kart 8 and dug through past letters from the Company. I’d been given a few raises over the years and as I reviewed the praises from my boss justifying them, I experienced a conflicting set of emotions that I’m not entirely sure I’m completely in touch with. Not-so-deep within me is anger at being laid off, but I’m also so grateful for the experiences I had at the Company and my accomplishments and the relationships and friendships I’d never have otherwise. I think it’s going to be a while before I know how to properly frame all of this all within my own mind.
* * *
I broke out in hives today. All up and down my forearms and a little on my neck. I haven’t rubbed up against any plants in the recent past, nor eaten anything unusual. I don’t think it’s physical what I’m experiencing. I can’t remember the last time I felt this stressed out.
What are we going to do?