"Honey, please don't panic. I got laid off today."
Not the words you want to hear when you're pregnant with a two year old wrapped around your leg. Not the words you want to hear ever really. I felt like someone had punched me straight in the gut. As I struggled for breath, I sat down right where I was and looked around.
My gaze fell upon the walls of our house . . . a beautiful house in the suburbs in a nice neighborhood with lots of kids . . . a beautiful, big house with a great big mortgage attached to it. I thought about the cars in the driveway . . . one practical (John's of course) and one luxurious and extravagant (mine - I'm sure you're not surprised) . . . neither one completely paid for. I felt surrounded, almost suffocated, by all the things that five minutes before that fell below my radar most days. I rarely worried about our mortgage/car payments/etc. Suddenly, I felt crowded by these things, resentful of how much money they would take to keep. Money that had just evaporated from our lives so instantaneously we had no time to mentally prepare.
John came home that night with the contents of his desk in a cardboard box. Our struggling economy had taken him as victim. He wrapped his arms around me and I cried. I should have been comforting him but he was comforting me. I told him I was scared. We spent the evening taking an inventory of our situation and realized financial doomsday was at least several months off. He would surely have another job by then.
That night in bed we prayed together. I realized something very important. The "stuff" I was so worried about was just stuff. They could come haul it all away and I would still be the luckiest person on earth. My husband is as good as husbands come . . . loyal, hard working, moral, honest, loving, and generous. My daughter is a joy my life didn't know existed before.
I realized that fifty years from now, we'll look back on these times as the moments that really mattered, the make or break it times in our marriage. Another test of our resolve to stick with each other through thick or thin. I knew I had to tell John how proud I was of all that he has accomplished, how smart I thought he was, how grateful I was to be married to such a good guy . . . so I did. I told him my heart was his . . . rich or poor . . . stuff or no stuff. I meant every single word of it.
I try not to lie in bed at night worrying, but I still do. John has had numerous interviews already and has even more lined up. These are companies that found out John is "on the market" and have called to recruit him. Hopefully, things will pan out and he will find a job like the outstanding one he had.
If not, our lifestyle may have to change. Our lifestyle may change . . . not our lives. That is an important distinction to make, and something the economy can never take away. He is my life and I am his, and at the end of the day, that is all that matters. Really.
John never told me he was considered a 'star developer' by his colleagues. To read more, click here.