Now that the holidays are over and everything packed up, I have plenty of time.
Things are slowing down – I’m no longer needed at the wine shop, and the restaurant has me working around 15 hours or less a week. The Irish winter is in full swing and the drenching freezing rains keep us indoors much of the time. So I have time – time to consider, think, remember, wish, realize and hope.
Even in a year where so much has happened, it is hard sometimes to feel like I’ve gotten anywhere at all. Now that I’m married, the legalities are all ironed out so I can apply for any job I like. So far, though, that has not opened any doors. I’ll keep my head up, though, and keep praying and looking and applying, but searching for work in this country over the past two years is, quite honestly, disheartening. Especially now.
With companies in Ireland letting go of thousands of workers (like Dell computers relieving 1900 employees straight after Christmas or other large firms not even guaranteeing 401ks to their former staffs), it’s no wonder that the people who ARE hiring, hire Irish. They look after their own here. But where does that put me? It’s a humbling feeling, to say the least. I used to think I “was somebody” in my former life back in Indianapolis and moving over here showed me that everything can be stripped away when you start again. This really hit me right before Christmas when I was washing dishes at the Salthouse. It was nearly midnight and I was surrounded by two full sinks of dirty dishes, my face and clothing covered in grease and bits of food, my hair messy and damp with sweat. As I scrubbed with no end in sight, I heard the sounds of the Christmas party going on in the cafe – they were dancing around hugging each other, drunkly singing at the top of their voices to Bruce Springsteen’s “Born In the USA.” The irony of that moment has stayed with me even now, weeks later.
It’s just showed me that being American doesn’t give you a free ticket to anywhere. Success, money, freedom – they don’t secure your future. I don’t mean to sound so despondent and I feel guilty in part because I know I’m not alone in this – there are African doctors who drive taxis in town or Lithuanian special needs teachers who scan groceries. There are well-qualified Irish people, too, who can’t find work at all. It’s just the place where everyone is right now. We’re all in a massive big line, waiting for our next chance to be something, even if that something will never be what we were before.
But maybe, just maybe, it will be better.
The only thing that has stayed true for me during all of this is my faith. Faith that things will improve, faith in dreams, faith in the people who daily show their love for me, and faith in a God who governs it all. This faith tends to clear my vision and remind me that things aren’t so bad – I do have a home, food, friends, family and a job! I do have freedom. I do have some money and small successes. So I feel again optimistic, that everything happens for a reason, and that maybe what they say is really true: a joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
Here’s my New Year’s Resolution: I’m not going to be a fair-weather friend of life.
I’m going to love my husband, my family and my friends to the fullest of my ability, even when it’s difficult. I’m going to be honest yet have regard for feelings.
I’m going to stay true to my Christian faith, even when doubtful, challenged, alone or tired.
I’m going to pray for our leaders, be they Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green, Communist, Marxist, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Sinn Fein, Tory, Whig or whatever. I’m going to refrain from stereotyping or discriminating against anyone I meet. I will not tolerate the belittling of someone in my presence. I will treat all humans, creatures and living things (including our Earth) with respect and kindness.
I’m going to pay attention to the news and invest myself in what is happening in the world – even if it’s not always pleasant.
I’m going to be a loyal fan to the sports teams I follow, even in their losing seasons.
I will not give up on anyone. I will not give up on me.
Now I’d better get back to applying for jobs. 🙂