Monday, December 30, 2013

Wishing You a 2014 Filled with Hope!

I finished sewing my last item for 2013 on the 23rd of December in the nick of time for Christmas and went to bed for a long winter's nap. This was the start of my "let down" and "rest up" which has continued through today, interrupted only by Christmas celebration activities.

My oldest daughter loves to cook and bake and wanted full reign in the kitchen, and my arm didn't have to be twisted much.  This freed me to rest, relax and read Ann Voskamp's most recent book, The Greatest Gift.  It is a beautiful book that "unwraps" the true meaning of Christmas.  It is warm and loving and made me better appreciate our many blessings this Christmas season.

With our family gathered, Christmas seemed to push away all of the harsh realities that we had been dealing with since my husband's lay-off from his more than twenty-two years employment at The Orvis Company. This loss was coupled with another no less significant to me: the sudden loss of my lyme-literate doctor right in the middle of an extensive and radical treatment. My course was complicated and switching doctors in the middle of it was no small feat.

We "started over" by replacing our health insurance as best as we could afford and then did an extensive search for a special doctor to take me to the end of my treatment.  My husband's journey in replacing his job was not so short term.  He has had to learn what I had learned when my health prevented me from working as a nurse years ago: that we are more than the sum of our roles in life.  Though jobs provide identity, self-esteem and structure life, without them, life goes on, and self-esteem need not be related to one's earning capacity.

He is learning that his worth is huge to our family, unlike his worth to the large company that laid him off only a couple years after honoring him as one of their best employees. This sort of betrayal has been devastating and recovering from it, not without dangers! Being so close to retirement without a job makes him and others in this situation very vulnerable for victimization by employers  who scam honest and hard-working people in need of work, by promising viable salaries when it is never their intention to make good on their promises.

Christmas came in the nick of time, giving my husband respite from such an employer, and also by reminding him and us too that we are surrounded by Christ's love, along with the love of  family which is enough to renew hope and clarity of vision. He wisely used a bit of his unpaid time off during this holiday week to further pursue other job leads, and may well have found another. We are guardedly optimistic.

On Christmas Eve, I couldn't help but hear the familiar words to "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" in a new and more meaningful way. This carol was originally based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem written in 1863.  He wrote of being discouraged by the war surrounding him and, it is reported that in dispair, he bowed his head and wrote:"There is no peace on earth," I said; "For hate is strong And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!" Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep:  The wrong shall fail, The Right Prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men." It is still resounding in my heart and with it renewed strength, courage, and hope for 2014!

We at Little House wish you all a very Happy New Year, filled with hope in new possibilities for whatever circumstances you may be facing in 2014!