|The flight to Egypt|
On this, the day in which we remember the Holy Family
, Joseph included, I would like to offer up a prayer for my family. It's been a long, difficult year. My sister's family has been hit hard by troubles with her son, with the sudden onset of illness for her husband, and a disastrous financial collapse due to ill fortune and corrupt business partners. In short, they went from owning several houses to being on the verge of homelessness, my sister forced to help raise her granddaughter.
Meanwhile, my Dad's Alzheimer's caused a downward spiral last year, one that eventually led to us putting him in a nursing home in March. Within five weeks, he had died. We still don't know what happened. But we miss him. It was the first death of a close relative that my children experienced. At the same time, I was left without employment, any freelance and part time work having dried up despite rumors of an improving economy.
In Summer, we realized my Mom couldn't stay by herself any more and we invited her to live with us; with us, in a house meant as a starter for families with three to five people, already boasting a six member family. Now, with her, we have seven living under the same roof. At the same time, I began working for Aflac. A great product I believe in, one that does what it says. The problem? By all honest accounts, it can take up to two years before you really see the money coming in (remember, this is as self-employment, so all the glorious expenses and taxes that come with being self-employed). No problem, as my wife made enough and had good enough benefits for us to scratch out a living until I got my feet on the ground.
And then December 7, a date which will live in infamy. Now for more than one reason. My wife was asked to meet her supervisor at the human resources department of McGraw-Hill, where she was promptly told that her position had been eliminated by a computer program in New York. There was no bargaining, no pleading, no begging. It had been printed, and it was a done thing. By 2012, she would join the throngs of the unemployed while I was scarcely bringing in enough money to pay the expenses it takes to make the money in the first place.
So coming into the holidays, realizing that for the second time since we became Catholic, we were both without steady incomes, this time with a total of seven people to keep, and a floundering economy, I can't help but admit things have looked better. 2011 was a bad year. It just was. We tried to make the best, to make lemonade where there were lemons, to put the best face on it we could, but it was just a bad year.
So we're praying that 2012 will be better, that the Mayans were incorrect, and that our fortunes will turn and we will see God at work in our lives, have the faith to follow His will, and see by the end that it was all worth it. I would like to think finding our paths would happen because of the Church, not despite the Church. And my prayer is that we will be able to declare a wonderful testimony about how 2011 was made in some ways better by the abundant blessings of 2012. It's a prayer I have. And I pray to the Holy Family, to Mary, to Joseph, who like me had his earthly family to tend, and to Jesus Christ my savior and lord, that by next year at this time, we will have been put into a situation where we can finally give, and from that it shall be given unto us; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, that our children may see the blessings we have received through our Faith in Christ through His Holy Church. That is my prayer.