Day 10 – Spiritual Networking

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.

September 7, 2014

Once a month, Mormons have what we call a “Testimony Meeting” that’s basically a one hour open mic session. The meeting is supposed to be centered on Christ, but inevitably people get a little too excited about having a pulpit from which to speak and take us all to crazy town with them. Sometimes they meander and get into too irrelevant details about vacations the rest of wish we went on, or the hair ball their cat coughed up that morning (which I suppose could be a spiritual experience, depending on size), but mostly what you hear are testimonies that are simple, tearful confessions of belief in the Savior. In a church largely without pageantry, this is as honest as it gets. And as pedestrian as the words used by the brave and timid souls who dare to share the deepest part of themselves may sometimes be, there isn’t really any denying the conviction behind them. These people know what they believe, and we know without doubt that they believe it.

I was the first one to the mic today, after the Bishop kicked it all off with a few of his own thoughts. I very rarely do this. I did it this time because I think there are times, like now, when you’ve got to recognize the hand of the Lord, publicly, or you’re just ungrateful. I also wanted to thank everyone in the congregation. Many of the blessings we’ve received in the past week and a half came directly from them.

NetworkingNot everyone knew about our situation, of course, so I led with a brief description of the 24 hours that found both me and my wife suddenly out of work. That got their attention. By the time I was done, I felt I had rambled sufficiently, didn’t have much of a clue what I’d said, and made enough of an impression that what was just an honest expression of faith that blessings are just around the corner for us turned into a big networking opportunity. People asked for my resume. Said they knew a guy. Told me to start my own business.

My name and resume are now out to the Fresno Unified School District, thanks to my testimony. I’ve flirted briefly with becoming a teacher over the years, but never seriously. I keep feeling like wherever I go next will be a big deal and a huge departure from what I was doing. Maybe that’s it.

My favorite interaction at church was the brother who tracked me down to proclaim loudly, “Boy, you wouldn’t have any luck at all if it weren’t bad!” That’s not entirely true, but it made me laugh and nod anyway.

Best advice I heard today: “It’s not your responsibility to make others feel better about your situation.” Made me think of my dad’s funeral, which I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and much of our time grieving is taken up by trying to prove to everyone that everything is going to be fine. This really is like a death. It’s like when people talk to us we’re both the grieving family members and the corpses.

I think it was a car crash. My wife died instantly. I died at the hospital a day later.

* * *

Erin got an email today telling her she’s eligible for the next step in the application/interview process in some sort of sales rep job. It’s local. It’s encouraging.

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