Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nobody Messes with My (Unemployed) Man!

Yesterday someone called to check and see how things are going with Dave's job hunt. He meant well and I appreciate his effort to pick up the phone and let us know he cares. Let me repeat: I so appreciate that he cares.

But as the conversation developed, I felt less cared for and more judged. I could hear in his words that he views my hubby (whom he's never met) as a man who sits around burping and scratching when he should be out working. The man who just spent three years at perhaps one of the most competitive universities in the world, studying things like polymers alongside Chinese students who never sleep, working eighteen hours a day to come out with a decent grade in Cornell's graduate chemistry program.

Yeah, I'm bragging. I'm also pounding this keyboard too hard. Nobody messes with my man. My man who got home at one o'clock in the morning, slept for four hours, then awoke at five to make the one hour drive to school again--for six and sometimes seven days a week. This is not the kind of man who is content to sit on the couch all day and read Hunter magazine.

But I didn't point any of this out to my phone-a-friend friend. I politely thanked him for caring and said good-bye. 

I hesitate to write again about our "situation." Unemployment is a reproach, an icky disease that people discuss behind your back. It's not like having cancer. Cancer isn't your fault. But unemployment is, right? It's something you can fix, and should. That's why my friend called me up on the phone. Because he's a fixer.

That was yesterday. Tonight my hubby asked me to pray with him. So I knelt beside him on the couch (you know, where he drools all day instead of working) and tried to pay attention to his prayer. If you know him, you know that his voice can put you to sleep and I mean that in the kindest way. His is a deep, soothing voice, and his words are carefully thought out, one at a time almost. So I knelt there and soon was thinking about fashion, and wearing jeggings this winter, and big rings. Suddenly I felt the couch shaking. I put my arm on Dave's back and it was shaking, and I realized he was crying. "Oh God, please use us for your glory. Don't let us miss what you have for us, because we're too busy smelling the roses. Do with us whatever you choose. We give our lives to you."

You know what? Dave may never again wear a white lab coat and goggles. He may never realize his dream of developing something groundbreaking and useful for humans in this life. We may never get to take that cross country trip in an RV and show our kids America. But it's fine by me. Life is short--and then the real life begins.