Doing Better Than bin Laden, and That’s Something!

I haven’t talked about job search in awhile.  It seems my newspaper is telling me every day that the situation is getting better and better, although some of the information seems contradictory; i.e. for  x month new hires were on the rise, while unemployment claims were also on the rise.  The President lobs grenades at the Republican House majority, talking about “not short-circuiting the recovery”, but I’m not feeling recovered myself.  I could paper a million bird cages if I printed out all the “Thank you for applying” emails I’ve received from companies.  It could be that it’s the graying pack I run with: most of us seem to be either still unemployed or underemployed.  Me, I’m an MBA with two IT certifications and I’m cleaning windows.  Seems like an invitation to bitterness, but I’ve lost 10 lbs in two months of doing it, and it’s not even got seriously hot yet.  Maybe one day you’ll see me on Oprah promoting my book “Squeegee-robics”.  But the cool thing is it is work.  I get out of bed in the morning (slowly), but with a purpose.  We did a retirement community in March, and I saw a lot of people sitting dead-eyed staring at TV screens with the heater running in 800weather and cat-poop stains on the carpet.  I’m not ready to be one of those people yet.

There are happy stories to tell.  I have a neighbor who went through a lot of angst with Coca Cola, but now he travels all over the world for them and does quite well.  Another after a long struggle hooked on with a company that doesn’t pay him what he used to make, but he enjoys the culture there.  A third friend has been out for about a year, and feels a good offer is coming; the only caveat is he’d have to move to Charlotte.  My sister and her husband have had to deal with uncertainty, but have had good career news recently. I don’t know anyone who’s become homeless because of the economy: most if not all of my friends and acquaintances have – as they’ve told me to do so many times – hung in there.  And most of my friends and acquaintances have strong religious faith…hmmm, connection?

C. S. Lewis in “The Problem of Pain” makes an eloquent point:

The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in.  The settled happiness and security we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast.  We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy.  It is not hard to see why.  The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with our friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency.  Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he said to petition the Father to “Give us this day, our daily bread.”  He didn’t say to ask for tomorrow’s bread, or next year’s bread, or bread for when I retire.  He said this day’s bread, and to ask every day.  He also rebuked Satan that man did not live by bread alone, but every word that came from the mouth of God.  I am alternately amused and appalled by our culture which does say man lives by bread alone and the flashier the bread, the better he’s living.  On “Good Morning America” this morning was a story about a mom who gives her 8 year-old Botox injections because “the other pageant parents are doing it”.  She also makes the little girl submit to bikini waxes.  Strike up to the tune of “Roll Out the Barrel”, “Roll Out the Millstone”.   But I digress…

Jobs, 401-Ks, Falcons season tickets, a manicured lawn – these are all good things, and our Father wants us to have them, as long as we don’t abide in them instead of His Son.  I see people wailing in romantic comedies and on reality shows “I don’t know WHO I am!”  The answer to who we are is all there in the Gospels.  Jesus is the vine, we are the branch offices, and the branch offices that don’t make quota will be eliminated, or something like that.  But I do know while Jesus always has his eye on the bottom line, he’s very fair and has an open-door policy.  Don’t be a stranger.

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