Out of Work: One Family's Journey

The roar of my husband's electric razor startles me into bleary-eyed semiconsciousness. The alarm clock reads 6:30 a.m. Within minutes, Cameron will don a suit and tie and head out the door. He won't report to work, though. Instead, he'll pound the pavement of Phoenix, enduring the blistering heat and the searing heartache of constant rejection.

My husband, you see, is unemployed.

Day after day, Cameron searches: Networking, knocking on doors, circling want ads - even dialing job hotlines until midnight. Occasionally, he lands an interview. It's hard work, this business of being unemployed. Hard financially, emotionally and spiritually.

Meanwhile, I've learned what it's like to be the sole provider for my family — a responsibility that's given me a new appreciation for my husband. My workday goes into full swing around 10 p.m., after I've gotten the family off to bed. I write newsletters, brochures and articles often until four in the morning. I sleep for a few hours until I get up with our 3-year-old daughter, Leah, and shift into her morning routine. Then I nap with her in the afternoon.

This new lifestyle began after our family faced a series of setbacks in New Jersey. After much prayer, we decided to sell our home and head for the promised land of Arizona. Traveling cross-country, we joyfully taught Leah a children's song about God leading Abraham to a new home.

Those first weeks were upbeat. The once perpetually exhausted Daddy suddenly had all the time in the world for his little girl. We took long walks. We talked and dreamed. We became more active in church and enjoyed a time of spiritual renewal. We watched eagerly for the "Aha" — that moment when God would reveal His wonderful plan for our lives. (Translation: A great job with better pay and a beautiful home in Scottsdale.) Months passed and the "Aha" never came.

We're afraid it never will.

Instead, we've settled into a time of wondering. Wondering if we missed God's way. Wondering how bad it will get before it's finally over.

Copyright © 1994 Donna Partow. Used by permission.