2012. We're officially two weeks in and wheeeeee! What a ride already!
Mid-afternoon on Friday January 6th I got the call that I'm all too familiar with.
"Guess what? Maybe the fourth times the charm?"
Willy was laid off. We can't say we were totally shocked, although the timing was a bit of a blind side. Willy works in an industry that rides the economic roller coaster and when the economy is in the toilet, work disappears. Sometimes they'll have a project already in the works and it will continue for a while and layoffs are avoided. Other times they'll have projects lined up and suddenly the funding goes *poof* and consequently so do the jobs. This is what happened this time. Willy has known for several months that things were getting worse and that cut-backs and lay-offs were probably inevitable. We banked some hope on the fact that Willy has a unique skill set that no one else at the company has and we crossed our fingers that his job could be spared. Unfortunately, Willy's job was also strictly overhead - not at all billable to projects - so when it came time to "cut the fat", Willy's job was the fattest job to cut.
While on the phone, with my heart in my throat and my mind racing from the shock of the sudden loss of income and employment, I asked Willy "How are you feeling?" and he said "Better than I probably should." And that's pretty much how we've felt ever since. When I hung up with Willy my gut instinct was to call my best friend here and ask for her family to pray for us. Her kids are prayer warriors and our families are so close that I just knew that their prayers would lift us up. Next I immediately called my mom who jumped right into Mom action and declared the following Sunday a day for family fasting (my youngest brother is also out of work right now, so Mom decided it was time to gather all the family together in purpose and prayer that both Jed and Willy would find employment.) Then I did what any typical girl in this day and age does... I updated my Facebook status. "We've asked for your prayers before, and we're finding ourselves in a position of needing to ask for them again. Willy was just laid off this afternoon. The company he has worked for is simply running out of projects and work to be done and they can't justify his position any more. Please keep us in your prayers. We've been through this before and we know well get through it, but the unknown is so scary and frankly right now we have NO IDEA what the future holds. Thanks in advance. Love to all." And next I went to my Scrap Girls "family" and solicited their prayers. Throughout the afternoon and evening the emails poured in. With literally hundreds of people praying for us, we felt lifted up and hopeful and surprisingly, unafraid. We've been through three previous unemployment stints ranging from roughly 48 hours to nearly 6 months. When we look back we can easily see Heavenly Father's hand in the resulting life changes following each stretch of unemployment. We've experienced new places, made new friends, grown in our faith and strengthened our family each time we get through the trial. We have no doubts Heavenly Father will see us through this experience as well, and we've been so grateful for the prayers of family and friends during the process.
We had a lot of time to reflect and wonder and ponder on our situation over the following weekend. Willy could do very little aggressive job-hunting since it was the weekend. So we did a lot of talking. A lot of "what if" discussing. We imagined life on the island without employment and how difficult it would be to survive the Hawaiian cost of living without steady, sufficient funds coming in (Molly is the only one who is very interested in living in a tent on the beach, in case you were wondering). We tried to imagine moving back to the mainland if the right job presented itself. Where might we move? Texas? New Hampshire? Washington D.C.? Back to Cali? Back to Utah?? We discussed our immediate needs. We talked about the kids. We talked. And we talked. And we talked.
And for the most part we were calm. There has been very little panic. Only a few tears have been shed. We KNOW that Heavenly Father will guide us through this!
On Sunday as I fasted from a distance with my family, I felt comforted by the Spirit. When we were at church and I sat at the piano to play prelude music prior to our main worship service, I turned to a hymn that has typically had a calming influence on me during times of trial. That hymn is "Where Can I Turn for Peace?". But I was drawn to the hymn on the opposite page. I played it as prelude music instead and read the words in my mind as I played:
I will not doubt, I will not fear;
God's love and strength are always near.
His promised gift helps me to find
An inner strength and peace of mind.
I give the Father willingly
My trust, my prayers, humility.
His Spirit guides, his love assures
That fear departs when faith endures.
When Faith Endures Hymn #128
It was exactly what I needed to hear. And as member after member of the congregation came up to Willy and I to offer support and prayer and love throughout our Sunday church meetings that day, we truly felt like there was no reason to fear!
On Monday Willy had a lunch interview with a potential employer. He met with that same gentleman on Friday and was introduced to others at the company and got to sit in on a project planning meeting to contribute what he could. The possibility of a position at this company being created to utilize Willy's abilities and skills is very real and we're hopeful that we'll hear more by the end of this coming week.
Willy has also had several other solid leads come his way. Some would keep us here locally. Some would require a relocation. Some are for short-term projects. Some are in his field and some are not. We feel blessed to know that there will probably be some options available to us. There are no concrete offers on the table at this time. But we have hope that offers will start coming. We just pray that our hearts and minds will be open so we know what the best plan for our family is!
In the meanwhile, we're enjoying a little extra time as a family having Willy home. We're fortunate to have great weather and lots of free outdoor activities we can enjoy together. We did the 5.5 mile round trip hike to Kaena Point as a family the day after Willy was laid off and it was wonderful. We saw albatross, monk seals and breaching humpback whales and it was a GREAT diversion from the focus on work. And on my birthday it was awfully nice to have Willy home to get the kids ready for school in the morning and send them on their way while I slept in a bit. We're finding blessings in the trial, and certainly the greatest blessing is additional time together here at home.
So there's how our 2012 started off with a bang! Here's hoping for some solid plans, not just speculations, very soon! Thank you so sincerely for all the positive thoughts and prayers you've said on our behalf. We feel it! We feel strengthened and lifted up. We appreciate it all more than we can even express. Mahalo!