I am hard pressed to put a good spin on unemployment. When we were out of work for 7 months with eight children, life came to a grinding halt. The stress gnaws at the fiber of your self-worth and confidence. It is mirrored in the faces of your children who are doing without the niceties, even the necessities of life. The unspoken, undeserved shame and blame stretches through the long hours of the night and when you wake, there it is again, looking back at you in the mirror.
Families in the throes of this scourge know the anger and despair it breeds. Our current times are fraught with downsizing, layoffs and foreclosures. Your father’s golden retirement watch is now an antique relic of a former day. Extended periods of dormant and challenging existence are our norm. Debt compounding, credit eroding, resources dwindling into non-existence, and the loss of goods and property shortly ensue.
There is a clinical, bloodless term economists use to classify this process on the broader scale of communities, industries, nations. Far from the poignant, heart wrenching pain of the home, it is known as “Creative Destruction”. It is seen as a predictable, even necessary economic cycle. In the glass paneled board room, in the halls of academia, they chart the death and fall of products, services and industries and the necessary fall out of the contingent work force on their smart boards. They predict and watch for the innovative entrepreneurs who invent, inspire and instigate the recovery in new thought, new means, new products to fill the void of destruction.
A gardener wields his shovel and trowel, straining his back and arms in the heat of the day tearing out a stand of leggy, yellow tulips that are flopping on the ground. They were pretty in their day, but became too prolific, too fast; expanding far beyond the boundaries the gardener had set. With the soil tilled and mulched and new precious stock laid in through hard labor, the garden gloriously blooms again.
It is little comfort the economist’s platitudes bring to the struggling family. Tulips, someday, will not feed a child today.
Work is life’s necessity. It is a commandment. “By the sweat of thy face, shall thou eat bread.” Moses 4:25). The scriptural adage that “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:20) is often interpreted that we must act upon our beliefs for the reception of the promised blessings, but without work, faith often dies as well. Ironically, when it is needed most, it is often the first casualty of unemployment.
Consider it then, a gift…this fallow field.
- Mulch your garden. Be a better husband and wife, a better father and mother, a better son and daughter. Consider you intended role in your family. Take this time, long or short to be kind, to love one another.
- Be kind to yourself. Judge not. You are a gifted individual. All of us are, by design and by heritage, gifted. Open the eyes of your understanding to see all of your talents and abilities and their myriad uses. Stand above the problem. Widen your vista.
- Know that there is and always will be someone poorer in many ways than you. “There is work all around in the world just now. Opportunity’s right at your door”. (“Have I done any good?” Hymn 223) Part of each day, put someone else’s need ahead of your own. Walk out your front door and be of service to the world. The recompense may not be bankable but rewarding and uplifting nonetheless. The volunteer with his heart and hand in the work often becomes the employee.
- Get a check up. Not with your physician. Work through your Spritual Checklist and test your “Worthy to Receive Inspiration” meter. You have questions and doubts that plague your days and shatter your dreams. You have the right to solace in your despair. You have the right to answers and direction. Do you have the capacity to hear and feel ? The greatest Entrepreneur of all Eternity is your mentor and advisor, your head hunter, your job coach. What price must you pay for His services?
In Faith’s reality, there is always a way to work through this. Be patient. Be still. Be trusting. Be a joyful, willing participant as the Lord puts His spin on his beloved child’s re-creation and you will, in time, find sweet the uses of this adversity and be blessed with the necessities, even the niceties of life.