“I’ve heard life illustrated as a juggling act.
“In this metaphor, your family is a ball made of glass.
“All the other things that fill your schedule, like your career, hobbies, etc., are rubber balls. While it’s important to provide for your family and do your best in your chosen field, it isn’t the most important thing, and if it happens to fall out of your hands for whatever reason, it’ll bounce back. The same goes for hobbies and other things that take your time.
“But if you drop that glass ball, that’s it. You’re left with the guilt and pain over missed opportunities and misplaced priorities, and you learn the hard way how truly important those relationships were.”
I wrote that illustration in a column mourning my grandmother, who died on Easter Sunday 2015.
I heard it many years ago from a pastor, and it rings just as true now as it did then.
Although now, as I’ve gotten older, those priorities have changed.
My wife and I work for competing companies, and our schedules seem to work against our marriage.
Our time together has been whittled down to one full day.
One. Let that sink in.
Most couples get every evening together after their 9-to-5’s. We get one full day.
We fiercely guard the little time we have, and, ironically, we’ve grown closer and our love has grown stronger.
I’m convinced that’s a God thing.
He alone has protected our marriage through this awful time and will continue to do so for however long this trial lasts. Of that, I’m confident.
Nevertheless, it’s frustrating. How could it not be?
A few years ago, our schedules were an aggravation to which we adapted, but now, they’ve metastasized into unacceptable burdens as our jobs have placed even more of a demand on our lives.
And all we’re left with is that one day.
We have hopes. We have dreams. We have goals. And we know that our current state of affairs isn’t conducive to any of them.
So what next? What now? After all, we’re not getting any younger.
In perhaps appropriate timing, my company recently was sold to another, and, like any time a business changes hands, despite anything the new firm says, changes are coming. And possibly soon. Sooner than many would probably like.
And I’m certain my job is on the line.
However, Megan and I are prepared because this isn’t my first rodeo.
Long before I met my wife, during the first throes of the Great Recession, my company — a once-stable, bellwether of a company — started shedding jobs left and right.
Sensing mine was on the eventual chopping block, I left before they could cut me, which led to a few years’ worth of aimlessness and hard times.
But through those extreme difficulties, I learned life lessons I continue to carry today.
One of them was to be prepared should anything like that happen again.
So as soon as I heard my company was for sale, I began readying for a potentially long period of joblessness.
After more than a year of such measures, all systems are go.
But it’s still scary.
There’s nothing quite like being told you’re no longer necessary and being thrown headlong into the uncertain waters of unemployment with no insurance after years of stability.
But something has to give because I refuse to look back on my life with resentment and regret for not raising a family or spending time with those I love dearly.
God willing, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure Megan and I realize our goals and dreams, that we see each other more than one measly, freakin’ day per week.
I don’t know what that looks like. Other than the steps of preparation I’ve already taken, I have no concrete plans as of yet. But I’m sure God will lead the way.
Who knows, perhaps losing my job will be the blessing in disguise — and kick in the rear end — for which Megan and I long have prayed.