I was making my lunch when I heard the interior garage door open. Puzzled, I made my way down to see what was going on. My husband stood in the mudroom gripping his briefcase, his suit bag draped over his other arm.
“Well, I guess that’s it.”
Searching for words in the midst of confusion, I stumbled over my response. “What’s going on?”
“They fired me. I’m done.”
While I knew there was a possibility that my husband’s job could be eliminated after a corporate merger turned out to be a takeover, his announcement still took me by surprise. A job loss is rarely welcomed, even in the less-than-ideal circumstances of the major corporate upheaval my husband had been enduring for months.
It didn’t take long for guilt to prick my conscience. I had pled to the Lord for an escape from the responsibilities of caring for our new puppy Theo (click here to read more) so I could get back to my own career. Having my husband around more was one way to accomplish this. I never imagined, nor wished, that my prayer would be answered with a devastating job loss.
My next emotion was quiet jubilation as I pondered the opportunity that presented itself. Maybe we could FINALLY move on to fulfill our dream to move to the east coast.
It was an idea that my husband had been increasingly talking about, as he had travelled there many times as part of his job—and one that had grown on me. I had visions of having a beautiful place where we could host travelling musicians, writers, people in ministry, family, and friends, who needed a place to rest and rejuvenate; where I could have a little store front; and where my husband could start pursuing his passion for a counselling ministry. I saw possibility instead of loss; and was excited to see where God might lead us.
At the time, I kept my thoughts to myself, hoping that the same idea would dawn upon my husband. As much as I wanted to dive in and orchestrate a new life for us, I knew it was wise to let him figure things out for himself.
During the first few months after my husband was let go, I adjusted easily to my husband being around all the time. I used to dread the thought of him retiring, as I was used to having the whole house to myself so I could have the time and space to pursue my creative endeavours including writing and making music. Although I still didn’t do much creating over those first few months, I was able to get administrative work done. It was a blessing that my husband took over as Theo’s primary caregiver, saving me the early morning walks and feeding duties.
Our house had a measure of peace throughout those first few months as my husband maintained a positive attitude about his future.
“Don’t worry about anything. I’m sure I will get another job.”
Although that wasn’t quite what I was hoping he would say, I was grateful he maintained a positive attitude.
Despite a few promising interviews during those first few months, my husband was unable to secure employment. The industry had taken a downturn, and, unfortunately, men in their mid-50s weren’t the most sought after demographic, despite their valuable experience.
As the weeks ticked on by, I decided it was time to get serious about having a conversation with my husband about moving to the east coast.
After easing him into the conversation, we sat down together and planned out on paper what we could do if we sold our house on the prairies and moved to the east coast, where real estate prices were low enough to allow us to live mortgage- and possibly even debt-free if we were careful with our money. It would be a grand opportunity for us to pursue our respective and mutual artistic and ministry dreams. We talked for days about the possibilities.
To help my husband along, I brought home from the library dozens of books about life transitions for him to read.
Sadly—and despite my devouring each book—the pile I had set aside for my husband to read remained untouched by him.
A friend of mine who was a life/career coach and knew my husband was in transition, reached out. I caught snatches of their conversation as I tidied up the kitchen.
“In your heart of hearts, what do you really want to do right now?” she asked. It was a great question to ask someone who was floundering.
Without hesitation, my husband said, “I’d like to have a full-time job working in my industry here in Saskatchewan.”
I was furious. Despite all our lengthy discussions about moving on to something new, my husband clearly could not let go of his career.
As soon as he got off the phone, I laid into him, quivering with frustration and anger: “I don’t understand. I thought you wanted to move to the east coast!”
“I do,” my husband said. “But what am I going to do there?”
His answer upset and angered me more. All those days of discussion and planning evidently were not finding a home in his heart. My husband was clearly not ready to move on. While I had a clear vision for a new, fulfilling life, he simply could not visualize it.
Unfortunately, doors continued to close for employment in Saskatchewan. And my husband’s peace of mind continued to deteriorate. With only a few courses left to complete his Bachelor of Theology—his passion for the last five years—my husband couldn’t seem to get himself to sit down and complete his degree, despite the fact that he finally had loads of time. I didn’t understand it at the time, but my husband was slowly sliding into depression.
Meanwhile, we were contending with dwindling finances. By the time tax season rolled around, the financial resources my husband had received when he was let go--those not locked up in RRSPs--had disappeared. With months to wait before he qualified for employment insurance and desperate to prove his self-worth, my husband intensified his job search, this time expanding his search into Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.
After more failed interviews, when an opportunity arose for him to work part-time for a consulting company right in our own city, my husband jumped at the chance. I had my concerns as the position was outside his area of gifting and comfort zone.
And while it promised to provide much-needed income, it came at an enormous cost.