After 35 years in the banking industry, my husband’s steady, good-paying job was outsourced, and he, along with his co-workers, lost their jobs.
In his last position, he worked the third shift from home. His job in the IT department was processing the data for 100+ bank branches. We were warned about the outsourcing for months ahead of time, but when the night finally came for him to shut down his computer for the last time, we all gathered around and felt a tidal wave of mixed emotions.
This was a new experience. In our nearly 30 years of marriage and long before we were married, he had had a steady job and had only changed workplaces twice—once when we made a long-distance move and once after a departmental downsize reduced his working hours to less than we could afford.
Both times, he stepped right into another position, so there wasn’t even a lapse between paychecks. I had left my own career in banking several years before to raise and homeschool our son, Zach, so my husband’s job was our only source of provision.
As Zach and I stood behind my husband that night and watched him close out application after application on his computer, the realization that we were without an income for the first time ever hit us like a ton of bricks.
We knew we would be more than OK for a while due to a very generous severance package from the bank, but what would happen after that?
What we didn’t know that night was that there was a long line of unexpected health issues ahead of us that would keep both my husband and me from being physically able to work. Several other life changes would also test our faith to its core. I’m glad we weren’t told the future ahead of time. It was enough to deal with what we could, one day at a time.
That period of unemployment ended up stretching out for a total of 21 months to the day.
During this time without a regularly earned paycheck, our minimizing journey took on a whole new meaning as circumstance forced our family to take an even closer look at our possessions. We came to terms with selling things that weren’t true necessities. If you’re going through a similar time of difficulty and uncertainty, I hope sharing what we’ve learned will inspire and enrich your own journey.
Hard Times Inspire Fresh Look at Possessions
There’s nothing like a shut-off notice to motivate a minimizing restart. The threat of homelessness will spur you to look at that extra vehicle with a new set of eyes. You’ll ask yourself, “do I really need to cling to this just because it belonged to a cherished loved one when selling it would pay two months’ rent?” Practicality and sensibility overwhelm sentimentality during desperate times.
Hard Times Draw Loved Ones Closer
Leaning on the “true-blues” in your life through times of suffering strengthens bonds. Drawing support from those who share your sorrow deepens connection. Crying alongside those who are loyal through seasons of difficulty cements ties. Simultaneously experiencing pain and hardship solidifies camaraderie and a sense of shared accomplishment when the trial is over.
Hard Times Generate Gratitude
While that statement may sound contradictory, it’s true.
Walking through days where it feels like your whole world is turned upside down makes you appreciate the immeasurable value of an ordinary day. There’s a wellspring of truth in the words of the song by Dennis Marsh that says, “The hard times make the good times even better.”
When dire necessity forces the sale of things you thought you could never part with, you realize you’re left with what matters most because you still have each other. Gratitude emerges as you realize that no matter what you’ve lost and given up, as long as you’re still together with the ones you love, all is well.
While we would never have asked for the downsizing of my husband’s job, what looked like a disaster in the beginning has added to our life in the best of ways.
By Cheryl Smith