I bet you didn’t know that pink signifies happiness and joy in Catholicism. I’ve always been fond of the color and receive pink roses from time to time as a gift from my sweetheart Mr. Right, whom I met on CatholicMatch.
I love the look of these blossoms but don’t often take the time to smell their sweet fragrance or consider the beauty of this precious gift that God so freely shares with us.
Last month I had occasion to pause and reflect about what the color pink represented when it came in the form of a pink slip from my employer. After being in a top management position which I had worked years to attain, I was told that the company had decided to reorganize and my title was being eliminated.
I can’t say that I didn’t see this coming from a mile away, as I was the financial guru. The employment picture has been dimming in this country for the last few years, and my company just like so many others has made massive cuts in the recent past. After we lost our group health insurance last year, it seemed that the only thing left to cut this year was employees.
If you are wondering whether I have hard feelings about the organization that I worked for or the tough decision the finance committee had to make in order to keep a non-profit organization in business, I would tell you that I do not.
I applied for unemployment immediately but haven’t seen a penny yet. I was told by the Division of Unemployment that correspondence between their department and my former employer could take up to five weeks since there is the usual government red tape involved. In the meantime, I’m getting by living off my retirement savings. Not a perfect situation, but I am grateful that I have some funds to fall back on.
One requirement of unemployment insurance in Wisconsin is that you must apply for two jobs per week. This is fairly simple and can be easily accomplished via the Internet. The only bad thing is that management positions in my field are few and far between in this area. Thus, I have been forced to apply for positions as far as 125 miles away.
I have gotten a good number of calls on my resume and have been lucky enough to interview at three companies so far. Unfortunately, the company that was most interested in me is over 80 miles away. That said, I have a whole new host of things to consider should the job be offered to me.
Should I drive daily until I sell my house? The gasoline prices would put a serious hole in my wallet. Should I rent in that area temporarily until I can sell? That would also be expensive. What should I do with my 115-pound dog? And most importantly, what about Mr. Right, who lives more than120 miles away from me in a border state?
The interesting part of this whole puzzle is that Mr. Right is also temporarily without a permanent full-time job. He does do consulting, but with the economy in a slump, business is definitely not what it used to be. Thus, he is also hitting the bricks in search of a steady job with benefits. This confounds my job search since the possibility does exist that if I find a job near Mr. Right’s home it may be fruitless if his job search leads him elsewhere.
Let go & let God
My attitude of late has been one of prayer and acceptance. After all, in the “Our Father” we recite the verse “Your will be done.” I truly feel as though this job loss is all part of God’s plan for both my life and Mr. Right’s and that now is the time for me to stop and smell the roses.
Although I have spent the majority of my time the last month looking for employment, I have also had the opportunity to visit my grown sons and their families, babysit my grandchildren, spend time with friends, soak up some rays in my beautiful backyard and spend time on my knees in adoration.
I have also had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Right at length about our future together. Our love has not changed but grown deeper as we’ve spent time visiting the cathedral in Milwaukee and praying the rosary together. I wait for the day that we can overcome the temporary obstacles of distance and job loss that have been put between us.
Being a widow, unemployment is not the worst thing that has ever happened to me. I remind myself daily that this could be a blessing or a curse, depending on my outlook. I have chosen to take the high road and see this as a blessing in disguise and I reflect on the “Serenity Prayer” that has gotten me through so many truly bad days in the past.
If you are currently unemployed or see a pink slip looming on the horizon, I urge you to stop and smell the roses in your life by counting the great blessings that God has already bestowed on you. And join with me in this prayer:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
We publish Barb Tess’ reflections on life as a Catholic widow the first Sunday of every month. Be sure to check back on Sept. 2 – and, in the meantime, enjoy some of her 20 archived pieces here.