Try a little perspective

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At least two-days worth of growth

So maybe shaving my goatee off was not the best idea when the current rate of change around my house exceeds all of our coin jars and piggy banks put together.

My wife’s reaction was harsh. She can’t look at me without giggling, and she’ll have nothing to do with me until my face grows back, as she puts it.

Change is rough on families. Our middle child, Carson, is feeling so much stress related to the possibility of moving to a completely foreign place, that he made himself sick this last weekend. The other two kids are feeling it too, but they are better about verbalizing their feelings, which in turn helps us process better with them.

Aside from my bad judgment regarding my facial hair, I have been playing the perspective game with my wife and kids the last few weeks. Yes, our situation is bad, but we’ve got a house over our heads and food in our refrigerator. No, I don’t have a job yet, but if we need to go live with grandma and grandpa, I’m sure they’ll be fine with that. (that’s cool right, mom and dad?)

Nothing does the trick like taking their minds off the bad things and transferring them to good things or even new adventures on the horizon. Playing the there-are-starving-children-in-Africa card has never worked well on my kids, but understanding the complex set of issues around getting laid off has allowed us to communicate things and set goals.

We put the house up for rent this weekend, then my wife and I had a late talk one evening where she expressed sadness at knowing that all her dreams for this place, the color schemes she picked out, the decoration projects for the kids’ rooms were all going away. Yes, we’ll still own the house, but someone will rent it from us.

I can understand this. She waited a long time for me to get comfortable with the idea of buying a house. Somewhere last year before our closing date, I murmured the term, “watch us buy this place and then I get laid off.” Harmless, seemingly innocuous, something everyone says when they buy a house, right?

It’s a house, not the house we’ve always wanted, but it was our own for a little while. Just enough to start to get creative. We actually painted the mud room and made a flagstone patio. still, it’s just a house, probably one of several we’ll own in our lifetime together.


I stood talking to a friend after church on Sunday when I felt someone stuff something into my back pocket. I thought it was one of the kids stuffing the church program in like they usually do, but when I walked out to the car I reached back and pulled out a wad of cash. We’re not broke yet, but we’ve felt the pinch of having only a few weeks of expenses left in our bank account. A friend felt our need and blessed us with enough money to pay some remaining bills and provide a little breathing room.


Whenever I’d get the E-mailed goodbye notes from other friends laid off from the journalism field, I’d inevitably get depressed all day after finding out. But a day would pass, and I’d think about their situation less and less. A lot of those feelings came rushing back at me when I was laid off. It’s a thin line between having a job and looking for a job.

When a friend was diagnosed with brain cancer a few months ago, we felt bad. The struggle for hope is something most people can only watch from the sidelines.

Getting laid off is a big hit to one’s ego. It’s a big hit to one’s finances and a hit to family stability. It’s a big deal.

Last week doctors gave my friend nine months to live.



2 thoughts on “Try a little perspective”

  1. So true Tim. Can’t tell you how many times during the course of a work day–when a client is upset about a hairline border being slightly off…or and proposal that I’ve pitched is awarded to someone else that I’ll remind myself…”this isn’t cancer”, or that “there’s a life lesson in this”. All of these little sidelines or set-backs reminds me that there really are more important issues in life. Thanks for your reminder of that fact.

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