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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Employment (01/26/12)

TITLE: So Dear, What Do You Do For a Living?
By Jennifer Porter


As she sat looking at the crisp linen page of her resume, the familiar feeling of failure rose in her breast. In fact, she’d just sent in the bi-annual insurance form that lists her once again as “unemployed”, making it official for another six months. “I am a wife and the mother of three grown sons, and THEY all have jobs!” she defends, thinking of spelling tests and last minute book reports finished in the wee hours of the morning. A small smile lifts the corner of her mouth and she knows she is truly thankful for the years she spent at home with her precious boys while opening her home to others who still call her “Mom”.
Most of the time she accepts her dusty BS in Education, except when she allows herself the time to glance at the ‘what if’ career path she passed on the way to football practice. Because of this choice she dreads the question at parties…“So Dear, what do you do for a living?” She grimaces and thinks quickly, what is the proper answer to that question? With a desperate glance toward the exits, she begins to apologize in her head, “I wish, I wish I’d gone on to law school when I finished my bachelor’s degree in Education and Government, then I’d have something to say, instead of….” The battle in her heart begins,
“Instead of what?” Pictures and memories flash quickly in her minds eye.
“Instead of raising your boys, volunteering at the church. What would you have given up so you can brag at your next party?
“Nothing”, she finally mutters in answer to the question, “I’m not working anywhere at the moment. How about you?” She can barely listen as she berates herself,
“Lame… really…I wish… I wish I had something to say that isn’t lame! She used to tell people about her degree and her plans for the future, but soon all the ego pumping conversation seemed… lame.
Do I have the right to call myself a writer? I am after all, one who writes. “Okay, an unemployed writer and teacher”, she says this aloud and her dog looks up before settling back to sleep again. A frown settles on her brow with her lips pursed at the irony that mothers are discounted as worthless and prepares to delete her last page. “Do I really wish I’d taken the career path instead of caring for my chronically ill son? A resounding No”, she says to her sleeping schnauzer giving the dogs head a quick rub. Her eye catches a picture of her family. “I am very thankful that at twenty-five my son is the picture of health, a proud homeowner, working full-time and he is about to graduate from College. Wait, lest we forget, his company is paying for the rest of his college! This helps to boost her sagging jobless ego as she changes into her work clothes so she can finish tiling in the bathroom. She knows they are saving thousands by doing it themselves, but she is still jobless.

Seeing the eight-inch scar as she changes clothes, she is reminded of the abdominal surgery that saved her life after a routine pap examination. “Both of my grandmothers lived well past ninety, this means at fifty, I may still have forty-five more years!” She says this to the mirror, her eyes sad before replying to her image, “Maybe I still have time to answer two important questions, So Dear, what do you do and do you talk to yourself often?”
UNEMPLOYED! The word haunts her. The box is still checked, unemployed! Sometimes she feels it should say, worthless, loser, or freeloading bon-bon eater! Sigh!
Just as she feels herself sinking into despair, she releases her self-pity over to the Lord and He reminds her that she works for Him. To be a servant of the Most High God is to glorify Him with the works of her hands, the meditation of her heart and the words that fly from the tips of her fingers. This is a mission worthy of the Kingdom. With a smile she starts to write again, her eyes on her Lord Jesus Christ and the path he has prepared for her.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2: 10 NIV)
Word count: 738

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This article has been read 283 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lois Farrow02/02/12
Well done, a good reminder that the value of our work as mothers and volunteer workers is not measured by the amount of pay we (don't) get. Our value is seen by God, if not by society.
C D Swanson 02/03/12
Beautifully written-wonderful entry. It engaged me from the very first sentence to the last.

Masterful job of bringing the MC to "life" as she realizes her "worth" is priceless in God's eyes.

Loved this. Great job.
God Bless you~
Verna Mull 02/03/12
Great article. It was a good attention getter (if there is such wording:) No greater path than to serve God and to raise your children in His ways. Enjoyed each sentence.
Marlin Prentice02/03/12
Great article! Very well written and super story of what I am sure many wives and mothers deal with at one time or other in their lives. No greater profession on earth than a godly wife and mother!

Sincerely in Christ,

Jody Day 02/07/12
Good job. If you preview before you submit, you can give it a little more white space between paragraphs. It would be easier on the eye. They don't always paste the way we have them formatted on our computers.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/07/12
You did a lovely job of capturing the MCs feelings of despair and what-ifs. I used to work 60 hours a week before a chronic illness robbed me of my job. But I am so grateful that I was always there for my kids. When my youngest was about 7, she looked at me and said, "Mom,I'm glad you're sick cuz you are always there for me not at work like my friends' moms." She made me realize how important my real job is. You conveyed this message nicely.
Martha Black02/08/12
How many women are there in the world who torture themselves as this mother did and never discover that they are the builders of the future and the glue that holds society together through their volunteerism. How grateful I am this mom discovered the truth. I hope she can come to the point of proudly declaring this to anyone who askes.
Dimple Suit02/08/12
You captured well the internal warfare of answering a simple question. The answers are not simple for they are as complex as the road bringing us to where we are. Thank You for reminding us, everything we do is for His glory!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/09/12
Congratulations for ranking 7th place in level 2! Happy dance. The highest rankings are given in the message boards late on Thursday.