A slight variation from the usual weekly post of thanks.
It feels tougher this week to focus on being thankful. There are the usual suspects, I’m married to the great love of my life, I have a child of whom I am perfectly proud, my health is pretty good. The bills get paid, I have food in the frig and a roof over my head.
And in just a week’s time I will be unemployed again. This is my third foray into the land of the jobless. It doesn’t really matter how it ended (and this ended better than many), the reality is that I’ll be without a job.
Right or wrong it feels like I failed. At the very top of my list of the things I fear/hate the most is failure. I can’t explain to you why I feel this way but I do. I can not, must not, will not fail.
Losing my job feels like failure.
There’s no good time to be unemployed but there are certainly bad times. Being notified that you’re no longer part of the plan just before Christmas is tough. You start making austerity cuts and tightening the budget all around.
Just before Christmas. It sucks.
“It’s a Wonderful Life” is one of our favorite Christmas movies. I know all the arguments against it. It’s sappy and maudlin and suffers from what some people find to be Capra’s insufferable optimism. That last one is pretty much why I love it.
At this time of sadness and worry a group of family members and friends pitched in to help my daughter make sure that this Christmas didn’t suck. Just like the scene in the movie where George Bailey’s friends pitch in to help him at Christmas time these wonderful people did the same for me and my lady wife. We were greeted by a generous collection of presents including one that we had just written off as being way outside the budget this year.
My daughter saved that box for last. I pulled away the wrapping paper and opened the (big) box. And there it was. A present that I KNOW isn’t inexpensive. I had pushed it down the road into the land of “maybe someday”.
When I saw it my face went blank and then the tears began. I was stunned and speechless. Then my daughter handed me the card that went with it. In it was money for a few more presents with this message :
“No man is a failure who has friends.”
It’s a line from Capra’s Christmas classic. It’s a sentence that I intend to make part of my personal credo going forward. How can I be a failure if there are people out there who care enough to reach into their pocket to care for me?
Not failure. Not sure what to call it but it’s not failure. Can’t be failure.
Not any more.
For that I am truly thankful.