Not Without Hope – Avery Clifton

This is the first in a series of stories of people who are currently unemployed but not without hope for their future…

Lisa and Avery Clifton

Lisa and Avery Clifton

My wife, Lisa, left her retail job of 14 years in March of 2007.  The stress of long hours and holidays away from the family had taken a toll, and, since our lifestyle has always been modest, we felt we could make it on my income alone.

So Lisa quit her job in March, and then my supervisor made an announcement at the end of August that our office would be closed.  My job responsibilities, and those of my two co-workers, were to be moved out of state.  I was asked to stay on for the next 6-8 weeks to help with the transition and office closure.  After about 6 weeks I called my supervisor and told him my work was complete.  I locked the door, turned in my keys, and drove home on October 19, 2007, with the performance bonus I’d earned and a modest severance package.  I’d been with them a month shy of 14 years, the last 9 of which as manager of Information Technology.

I figured I’d be out of work a couple of months at the most. I had always thought that an honest man who was willing to work could always find a job.  The new reality is that many employers are placing an emphasis on younger employees with a college degree and less on job experience.

I’ll have to admit there have been times I have been kind of embarrassed when someone asked, “What do you do for a living?” and I have to explain that I’m out of work.  And I do feel like I’m letting Lisa down as we watch our savings dwindle.  But, my unemployment has given me pause to try to see my life from God’s perspective and to learn from the experience.  For example, I’ve discovered that faith is just nice concept until it’s tested by adversity.  In addition, unemployment helped me see how closely my sense of self worth was tied to my finances and career… before I’d never thought of myself as a “material” person.  Also, I have come to recognize a lifelong desire to be a part of something of real significance, in stark contrast to the way I’d been living my life.

Because of this experience I find myself relating to others differently and looking at the world from a new point of view.  I’ve become more involved with church activities, and have found that working with other Christians helps me grow in faith.  I’ve been pursuing my interest in photography and have found that it has the added benefit of allowing me to meet some truly amazing people.  And I’ve learned the importance of prayer.

In short, I’m “not without hope” because of my relationship with Jesus Christ. Although I don’t always understand how God is working in my life, I know He loves me and that He is working. ~ Avery Clifton

As always, I’d love to hear your comments or views.

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