Being Willing to Endure Tough Times

Skojec Kid in Bookcase

I love Steve Skojec’s photograph of one of his sons self-crammed into the bookcase. It’s a terrifically honest shot that says, “yes, my kids get into things; the house is not perfect. We live here.” And it reminds me of the situations my sons got themselves into, and the days I thought would never pass, but now so greatly miss.

The picture is also a terrific metaphor, too; the child has climbed higher than he knew and in the process he made something of a mess. Now he is wedged in, looking for an escape from his precarious position and wondering what he had found so alluring to begin with. It could be the narrative of America’s present situation: reckless optimism coupled with relentless materialism has found us gazing down at our tumbled by-ways, and we’re not sure how to extricate ourselves from our situation.

It’s a spiritual metaphor, too: we tend to go it alone for as long as we’re succeeding, and only look for God to get us out of jams once we’ve gotten into them. Prosperity empties pews; uncertain times fill them. We love Daddy, but often forget all about him, until we really need help getting out of a jam.

The picture was an illustration to The Adventures of a Stay-at-Home Dad. His wife having been laid off, Skojec writes that he is back to looking for work.

Finances strained to the breaking point, Skojec had been unable to attend the Christening of his Godchild, or the ordination of a good friend; his family found a way to get him to his sister’s wedding:

The stress was crushing as I boarded my flight at 5:05 AM that Thursday, and by the time I’d arrived that evening I was getting a service cutoff notice for one of my utilities.

So I did the only thing I could do. I begged God to take it. To help me carry this cross that I was shouldering. I asked Him if I could please put the situation in His hands so I could just be with my family, whom I hadn’t seen in over a year. I am not an abandoner by nature. I want to be, but I never seem to be able to let go. I struggle with trust, always fearing that if I do, I will be disappointed. But in this instance, there was no other choice. I had to follow the old adage: “Let go, and let God.”

And so I did. I watched my beautiful baby sister get married. I took a couple thousand photos. I spent time with my parents and my siblings. I stayed up late, I drank, I smoked, I talked with the men and women who used to be the kids I picked on and bullied, and I reveled in who they have become. Their love for me – our love for each other – helped make me stronger. And while I was there, I was receiving e-mails with job leads, texts with offers of financial assistance, assurances of prayers from people I hadn’t seen in ages who were aware of our plight. The cross I came with didn’t go away, but it did get lighter.

These difficult times are going to teach us many things and make us more reliant upon each other and upon God. Read the whole thing, and maybe whisper up a prayer for Steve and his family, and everyone who is struggling to find work to support a household, at this time.

Prayer Meditation for Job Seekers

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