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Small Wonders: A story written in unseen words

October 14, 2011

Last Friday marked the two-year anniversary of the day I was laid off. My employer folded, and I joined the ranks of the unemployed. I was in good company.

In response to the post-victory question, “You just lost your job! What are you going to do,” the next day I took the family to Disneyland. And the following Monday I began calling myself a “writer-slash-house-dad” rather than jobless. It was perhaps the most enlightening, painful and ultimately rewarding period of my life.

I pondered the timing of this last Monday as I sat in a conference room on the Disney studio lot with a couple dozen other very lucky people on the first day with our new employer, hearing about a man named Walt and the very special mouse that started an empire.

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I got a job. A regular job, not one I can perform unshowered in sweats at my leisure without pay.

What started as a temporary gig with no promise of permanence has become permanent, and I find myself back in the daily grind of the entertainment industry. I am going to need a few more hyphens for my title.

The sense of comfort this brings, the unmitigated peace and lifting of so much weight from my chest, is something I wish for every person still looking for work in this stormy climate. My joy at landing a job is tempered by the guilt I feel knowing so many others more deserving are still in want.

A young lady at church the other day stood up to tell the congregation she lost the job she'd gotten just weeks before, tearfully asking for prayers.

“Why me?” I thought. Why was I so fortunate, and she so distraught? So I prayed for her. Maybe someone prayed for me.

There is no answer, no reason why opportunity alights upon one and not the other at any given time. None that we can understand, perhaps, save this: that each of us is writing our own book with a pen that reveals unseen words already on the page. Each story is unique, with obstacles and lessons tailored by a greater author specifically for each of us.

And it is in our struggles, our dark days and endless nights, that we learn the most.

I learned that being home with the kids is harder work than anything we do outside the house. And that's putting it mildly.

Every calamity that befalls your family, every bruise, injustice, disappointment and emotional hurdle tries you tenfold because much of the time it's you inflicting those wounds due to your selfishness, short-temperedness, confusion, frustration and blindness.

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