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Tag Archives: coping with unemployment

Sitting on the Sidelines or Fighting to the End?

Take, take, take.  A common theme in an ever increasing selfish world.  When communities, churches or marriages begin to fall apart, most sit along the sideline watching the situation deteriorate.  Meanwhile, few have the strength to fight to the very end.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace, 1 Peter 4:10.

From 2010 through the present, I’ve witnessed two special relationships end.  The first was a special church family that I became entrenched in, serving as an elder for six years and teacher for another ten years at its adjacent high school.  While many abandoned Red Lion as it first started to take on water, I tried my best to do what I could.  Although, I probably should have been more outspoken initially, the odds were stacked against me.  In the end, the church closed its doors and the school was sold to another denomination, causing several colleagues, including myself to lose their job.

It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many, Matthew 20:26-28.

The second divorce began as the first became final.  The baseball league that my sons played in under went a similar myriad of trials.  Trying to prevent an identical ending, I spent two years investing my time in the youth of Greater Newark.  Like a M.A.S.H. unit, the efforts I provided extended the life of the league for a couple of years.  Stepping aside to allow the next generation of parents to lead, most have passed the buck, unwilling to save this sinking organization.  While GNBL’s future is bleak, my only question is who will get off their butt, move beyond the sidelines and fight to the very end?

by Jay Mankus

A One Way Ticket to… Tarshish?

During the days of Jonah, there was a city similar to Las Vegas, where sin was flaunted for all to see.  Thus, when God gave him the assignment to preach to Nineveh, Jonah’s hatred of this place prevented him from following God’s calling.  Instead, he fled from the Lord, setting sail for Tarshish in the opposite direction, Jonah 1:3.

In many ways, my current path appears to be similar to the detour Jonah took from God.  After 10 successful years of teaching, I figured this stage of my life was over, a bitter memory of countless hours of service.  However, it appears the boat that I call occupation has sunk, leaving me stranded without a whale to bring me back to shore.

Second guessing my choices over the past 16 months may be futile, yet maybe this storm I have been experiencing has occurred to bring me back where I didn’t want to go.  While I have punched my one way ticket to Tarshish, God has the ability to bring me back in accordance with His will, wherever that may be.  As I continue to float off course, keeping my head above water, maybe there is an open door on the horizon to lift me out of these murky waters.  As for now, all I can do is pray the prayer of Jonah 2:1-9, expecting a happy ending accompanied by God’s providence.

by Jay Mankus

Inside the Cave of Despair

Sometimes in life, you feel as if you are watching a rerun of a bad movie, except I am living this one and there’s isn’t a remote to change the channel.  Somewhere along the way, on the road named Technology, I made a wrong turn, wandering aimlessly for hours.  Now, I have run out of gas, left stranded near the cave of despair, waiting for a good Samaritan to come to my aide.

In 1 Samuel 22:1, David is fleeing for his life, escaping to a cave to hide out until the threat subsides.  The mood inside is somber, filled with anguish, misery and pain.  This dark hole is my current residence, located on Misfortune Circle.  The meandering caverns quickly elude sunlight, preventing others from seeing the affliction deep inside my soul.

While David had 400 people who came to comfort him, my heart has hidden the pain of unemployment from others.  Like a disease slowly working its way through your blood stream, joblessness has sucked any joy out of me.  Isaiah 40:28-31 has an entirely different meaning for me today.  Like the movie above, I am that tired and weary individual.  As I continue to stumble and fall inside the cave of despair, I am waiting on the Lord for hope and strength to lift me out.  Now, would be convenient!

by an Eagle waiting on new wings

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