Keep On Moving On!

Job Search Continues

“I wait patiently for God to save me;

I depend on him alone.

He alone protects and saves me;

he is my defender and I shall never be defeated.

Trust in God at all times,

my people.

Tell him all your troubles, for he is our refuge.”

(Psalm 62: 1-2, 8)

I have posted several times about my layoff, and the aftermath.  I have written about the struggles with unemployment assistance, the uncertainty of the job search situation, and the depression that can come with the experience.  I do not want to give the impression that everything in my life is doom and gloom.  I am not alone in dealing with this new chapter in my life; there is my wife, who has supported me, and when needed, has given me a much needed kick in the ass.  There have been family members, from both sides, who have provided help and support in so many ways.  There are some members of my parishes, and parish staff, who always inquire on how I am doing, and encourage me onward!  My brother deacons continue to be very supportive; some have been an informal networking group for me.

I continue to discover, through the Career Place, and through the Web, new ways to job search; how to get my name and resume out there.  At the Career Place, whether in a workshop, or a seminar, you come to realize that you are not the only one going through this.  The thing I have to do now is to get my butt in gear.  To not just sit and rot, but to get going, to greet each day as an opportunity; not just in job searching, but in those activities that also feed my mind, body, and soul.  My job searching will continue to take priority, but also my need to just get out, walk around, get some decent exercise, and enjoy God’s Creation, especially as Spring is really beginning to dawn.  This blogging, this writing, is an outlet for my creative and reflective juices.  Also taking up the drawing pencil and paintbrush is also another approach I need to look at, and make some time for.

Finally, I need to take care of my soul, to make time for prayer.  And not just liturgical prayer, as important as it is, but also for deep personal prayer.  I need to entire that type of prayer, which opens me to experience God’s Presence in my life, to experience God’s love and care for me, as I am traveling this new road in my life.  In God, I will find my refuge during the tough times; in God, I will recognize the joy and love that is out there in the world.  So I am just going “keep on shuffling!”

The Shock of a Layoff

layoff notice

On the day of my distress I seek the Lord
By night my hands are raised unceasingly,
I refuse to be consoled.
When I think of God, I groan;
As I ponder, my spirit grows faint.
My eyes cannot close in sleep;
I am troubled and cannot speak.
I consider the days of old;
The years long past, I remember.
In the night I meditate in my heart;
I ponder and my spirit broods.
(Psalm 77: 3-6)

On the afternoon of January 7, 2015, I was led into a small conference room, outside of my work floor, and was told that I was being laid off. My boss and our company Human Resource person were there, and neither was happy about the situation. I was not too thrilled either, and it took me some time to get my composure back. The HR person went over the details of my severance package; and how to file for unemployment benefits. I shook hands with the boss, and said “It has been a pleasure (and meant it)!” I was given my coat, and my carry bag; and shown to the elevator. Nineteen years with the company ended in under an hour.

Fortunately, my former place of business was near St. Anthony Shrine, Boston, and I was able to talk with my spiritual director for a bit. It helped me for a while, but I am still facing an uncertain future. I am over sixty, and was pulling in two figure annual salary, which does not make a prime candidate for a position in many companies. There are days (and nights) I can relate to the person who composed Psalm 77. When life throws you a curve, it can take a while to recover. It is one thing to say I trust in God, it is another thing to actually do it.

What helps is to maintain one’s rhythm of prayer, even when you do not feel like it. I strive to pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day, to open my heart to God’s Presence; through the psalms, the readings, and the moments of meditative silence. As a Deacon, I have assisted at several weekend Masses, immersing myself in the beauty and power of the Eucharistic Liturgy. I open myself to the Presence of my Savior, in Word and Sacrament, rejoicing in the experience of my Lord Jesus Christ.

I still do not know what the future will hold, but like the prophet Habakkuk, I will “exult in my saving God.”

“For though the fig tree blossom, nor fruit be on the vines. Though the yield of the olive fail and the terraces produce no nourishment. Though the flocks disappear from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls. Yet will I rejoice in the Lord, and exult in my saving God. God, my Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet swift as those of hinds and enables me to go upon the heights.” (Habakkuk 3: 17-19)