In December 1982, a Mel Gibson film entitled “The Year of Living Dangerously “was released. We are only a few months into a new year but I have already dubbed 2020 with the same title as The Year of Living Differently.
For me, the difference began 17 days into the new year. HR Personnel appeared at my office and informed me that my employer had “restructured and 11 positions are being eliminated. Unfortunately, yours is one of them, and today is your last day. These ladies are here to help you pack your personal belongings. You will need to sign some papers and then submit your keys.”
My job of 16 years and my dream of a small retirement party in September all evaporated in about 8 minutes. I should have seen it coming but I did not…I was totally blindsided. It seems that the manner in which my job lay-off was handled is normal protocol for companies but it is almost humiliating and certainly humbling. I am now living on unemployment payments (another humbling experience).
Then in February, my husband was almost sucked into a financial scam that could have led to identity theft; we are thankful that did not happen. March brought the Coronavirus, and April likely means Easter without our annual family reunion.
In the midst of all this I learned that a pandemic of Spanish Flu in 1918 infected over 500 million people and resulted in 50 million deaths .…. Yes, I said 50 MILLION. Then, I realized that my grandparents were married in 1917, right smack dab in the middle of World War l. I’m sure they were like most young married couples—in love and full of hopes and dreams. But then here came a pandemic during which their first child was born in 1919. Another girl followed in 1921 and yet another girl in 1927. Then the Depression hit, and it was barely over when World War ll began.
My grandparents had bought their own farm but it became increasingly hard to make mortgage payments and work the farm with all the young men in the community away to fight in the war. So the bank foreclosed, and the family watched as the farm and their personal belongings were auctioned. My grandparents were able to buy another farm years later but in 1957 my grandfather suffered a debilitating stroke. His life was not very productive after that. So last week I sat down and cried as I looked at my grandparent’s lives. Yes, we are all living differently right now, and it might feel a little inconvenient and boring. But I look back at a couple who lived through 2 world wars, a pandemic, the Great Depression, a foreclosure, and health issues. They never complained...they simply endured. No wonder they were called The Greatest Generation!!! Stay safe and endure; remember it is all in God’s Hands.
© Leslie Kelley, 2020.