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The Blessed Agony of Waiting

 

I wish I were as good at waiting as Carson, my seven-year-old nephew. The other day he said with all the sincerity and excitement only a grade-schooler can embody, “I’m so excited about Christmas Eve, it makes my legs wiggle.”

His waiting is marked by eager excitement (okay, yes, mostly for the presents Santa will bring). But my waiting, I’m sad to say, is usually marked by impatient toe-tapping and eye-rolling. And sometimes even by dread or detachment.

At times I feel like I’ve spent the better part of my years waiting. I grew up in a family with three women and one bathroom. As the youngest of those females, I didn’t earn the best spot in line. I live a block from a train track, and I can’t count the wasted hours I’ve spent in my trusty Honda waiting for another line of train cars to pass. I’m a 38-year-old never-married woman, and the wait to find a good man who’s a good fit for me has at times seemed unbearable. And for the past seven months I’ve been waiting to hear back from the countless companies to which I’ve sent my resume, longing for one of them to hire me.

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Edible Benevolence

 

It was a good trade. I lent my friend Mark some DVDs and he gave me 12 containers of fish, chicken, and beef he and his wife had gotten on the cheap through their food co-op.

The government had Cash for Clunkers. We had Movies for Meat.

I obviously got the better end of that trade. I get to keep the meat; Mark’s eventually going to return my DVDs. But this wasn’t true bartering. This was benevolence.

As Mark told me, “We don’t have tons of cash to give to our unemployed friends, but we have lots of meat!” So that’s what he gave, and what I’ve been happily eating ever since.

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Jobless but Thankful

 

Unemployment came as a huge surprise six months ago. But that’s nothing compared to my surprise at the blessings that have accompanied this unwanted life stage. As we pause to give thanks today, here’s what this unemployed woman is thanking God for:

-the chance to go to China a few weeks after losing my job, preventing me from sitting and moping and forcing me to focus on others and our fascinating world.
 
-my Anonymous Caffeinator, who keeps sending me Starbucks gift cards in the mail.
 
-the time to volunteer with an English as a Second Language class twice a week, where the students (refugees and immigrants from around the world) fill me with joy and remind me that I’m a have, not a have-not.
 
-the friends who mailed me a check for $250 one overcast Monday, a humbling and blessing act of generosity.

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The Time-Closet Space Continuum

 
I know “I’ve been busy,” the excuse that’s practically as American as apple pie and snarky gossip, is a hard sell when you’re unemployed. As in, “Why haven’t you added to your unemployment blog in so long?”
 
Well, I’ve been busy. Really.
 
I taught a three-week class at Willow Creek church in October. I spent a week in Kansas City with my family. I’ve been writing a slew of freelance articles. I’ve been volunteering.
 
And, most importantly, I’ve been learning valuable lessons about the preciousness of our days.


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If Found, Please Call Camerin

 

I’m on the lookout for telephone poles. And a really great staple gun.

Why? you’re likely wondering.

Well, I have a few notices I’d like to post. Thanks to my six-year-old nephew, Carson.

You see, a couple weeks ago I received the picture to the left in the mail. It’s the first letter I’ve ever received from Carson. Oh sure, I’ve received pictures he’s drawn. Of trains. Of stick-figure me (which I posted on my fridge for diet inspiration). Of more trains.

But this was the first letter.

I’m not sure why he started at the bottom and worked his way up. I like to think that he wanted to master the Asian style of writing first before tackling the more conventional American style all his classmates are working on. Give me a challenge, I imagine him thinking, his tongue sticking out in dogged concentration while he grasped his Crayola marker and made his magic.

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