Tell us a moment or an incident that you treasure – not necessarily because it brought you happiness, but because it taught you something about yourself.
Glenn sat at the kitchen table. Absentmindedly fumbling at the brim of his coffee cup. It had been a long day. As he felt at this moment, it had been a long life. He heard the phone ringing. He decided to let the machine answer. He closed his eyes and bowed his head; chin touching his chest.
He squeezed his eyes together and then lifted his head back, face toward the ceiling, letting out a long, guttural sigh. He opened his eyes, adjusting them to the dim kitchen lighting, and looked around the room.
This morning’s breakfast still sat on the other end of the table. A half-eaten piece of wheat toast with blueberry jam. An empty glass sitting next to the plate. He turned slightly, looking at the kitchen sink. Last night’s dishes still cluttered the space, insisting on being washed.
He didn’t have the energy. He didn’t have the desire. At this moment, his only desire was to sit and slouch and try to forget about this day.
As he sat, a hundred thoughts bombarded his mind. He tried to repel them, squinting his eyes tighter, clutching his fists firmer; but the more he fought, the more the thoughts flooded his brain. Each was like a hot arrow, singeing through his flesh. Each found there target with masterful precision.
I still can’t believe this has happened to me, was a thought that kept recurring over and over again. How did this happen? How did it come to this? What will I do now? One by one, like mental jabs that continued to pelt him.
In exasperation, he stood tiredly to his feet, gripping the back of the chair. He stumbled to the living room, to his favorite chair and plopped down in a heap of mental exhaustion.
What will I tell Megan and the kids, he thought as tears fell down his cheeks?
Glenn sat still, pondering and tortured, for almost an hour. Time seemed to stop and nothing made even the slightest sound. All Glenn could hear or sense were the nagging questions that kept repeating in his mind.
It had been one thing not to receive the promotion he had been promised for over three years. It was quite another, now, to be told he was no longer needed at the factory. Some non-sense about restructuring and downsizing, making every dollar count. He had given twenty-six years to that company. And now, in the blink of an eye, it was all over.
An, I’m sorry, a handshake and an escort out the door, and that was it. No reward for loyalty. No credit for hard work and dependability. Just a swift kick in the seat of the pants. Whisked away like dust on the cold concrete floor.
He knew Megan would be coming home soon. She and the kids had spent the day with her mother. He could not bear to think how hard she would take the news. Their whole way of life was going to change. They would have to sell the house and new car. The savings account would have to be fair game.
As he put his head into his hands, he heard Megan’s car coming up the drive. He had tried to prepare himself for this moment. He had gone over it in his mind, exactly how he would break the news to her. Nothing seemed right, nothing seemed to fit the moment; like a sweater that’s too tight.
He stood up and started to pace across the living room floor. He heard her key in the the lock of the side door.
He knew this was going to be the hardest thing he ever had to do.
Megan walked in and gave him an understanding smile.
I left the kids at mom’s for the night, she told him.
Glenn looked at her and nodded. He tried to speak, but his mouth felt twisted and dry.
There were a few seconds of silence between them.
Megan finally spoke, Glenn, I know what happened today. I know you lost your job.
Glenn looked up surprised and confused. But, but how, he stammered?
Glenda called and told me, Megan replied.
Glenda was one of Megan’s oldest friends and she worked in the HR department at the factory. Glenn had not thought of her or of her calling and telling Megan. Glenn suddenly felt a sense of relief, but it was only temporary.
Glenn nodded, Yeah, yeah I did. I still can’t believe it. It still seems like a bad dream and I’m just waiting to wake up.
Megan walked toward Glenn and put her arms around him. Glenn gave a halfhearted hug back in response.
Megan could feel the despair and anguish in his arms.
Glenn, I want you to look at me. We have been through our share of tough times before. My father’s unexpected death, your brother’s car accident. And every time, with God’s help, we’ve made it through.
Glenn looked down at his wife, staring blankly at her.
I know this is tough Glenn. I know you’re hurt and angry. I know it feels as if the whole world just collapsed around you.
Megan took Glenn by the hand and Glenn refocused his eyes.
But, it’s not honey. It’s not the end of the world. I won’t lie to you and say that I’m not scared. I am. But, I know that God has a plan. I know that God is still just as much God now, as he was yesterday or the day before that. We have to trust. We have to have faith Glenn.
Glenn shifted his stance and gripped his wife’s hand.
Glenn, I love you. And I will stand by you and for you no matter what. No matter how hard it gets, I’m here for you.
Glenn felt Megan’s words as intensely as he had felt his inner questions earlier. Her words were like balm to his festering scars. Glenn looked at his wife and a smile lightened the tension in his face.
He took Megan in his arms and this time, he held her tight and close. He smelled her perfume and felt the soft skin of her arms.
In this one instant, like water bursting forth from a dam, Glenn fell in love with her all over again. He felt the same stab he had when he first met her. He felt the elation of when she said yes. He felt the peace and hope he had on their wedding day. In one instant, in one brief unspectacular moment, Glenn felt once again like a man.
I love you so much Megan. You are my rock and my shelter, Glenn said as he bent and kissed her.
For the next several hours they made love. And talked. And remembered. There in the darkness; the darkness of night, the darkness of a lost job, Glenn searched his soul, and with feeble but faith-filled eyes, he made out the glow of a soft, assuring distant light.
As Megan slept by his side. Glenn smiled. Thank you God, for all you have given me. I will trust you, he said as he held Megan close and tears wet his cheeks.