It was 16 years ago on Nov. 23, 1995 that I drove east on I-66 on Thanksgiving Day to begin a new life in the DC area working for the Washington Times. I swore I’d only be here 2 years. Sixteen years later, am still here. Funny how life works out that way. I’ve always loved the West but the bulk of my life has been spent back East.
The photos are of Veeka at the Sept. 11 memorial at the Pentagon. I recently visited the place with a friend and it’s amazing how many years it took me to finally visit there. I got to see Ground Zero about six months after Sept. 11 but the Pentagon memorial is tough to get to, especially for little kids. Actually I did drive up to the actual spot in one of the Pentagon parking lots about a month after the event until a Humvee started chasing me around. So I went to a hillside overlooking the place that was filled with signs and crosses and flowers.
And as of Dec. 1, I will have been out of work 18 months. I can’t even list how many places I’ve sent resumes off to; how many phone calls I’ve made, e-mails sent. And so many times I’ve had my hopes raised, only to have them thoroughly dashed, like a certain university that seemed on the brink of flying me out for a job interview – and then they picked someone else to talk with. Funny how they rejected him, too. I never knew how draining it was to look for work and how drawing up separate applications and cover letters for each job takes at least an hour per opening. Which really eats up your day. And how certain web sites, ie usajobs.com and some of the military sites simply devour your resume. I’ve been in the middle of filling in all their blanks when a note will flash, saying I’ve been on their site too long and zzzzap – all the information I’ve inputted is gone.
The word on the street is that it’s basically useless applying for any job unless you know someone on the inside because you just get lost in the pile. I’ve found that to be true; and the only chances I’ve gotten are places where I’ve had an “in” somewhere. I’ve been amazed too at the people who I’ve helped throughout the years, yet now that I am in need, they never bother to call or help out. Fortunately there have been a few saints who’ve gone out of their way to give me ideas and help me through this mess.
Veeka is fine and really hasn’t noticed the belt tightening. She is always full of theological questions. “How will we get up to heaven?” she asks. “We float up like Mary Poppins” I tell her. “I’m scared,” she says. “Oh, it’ll be fun,” I reassure her. “Woo hoo!” she chortles. “Can I give Jesus a hug?” She also is curious about how we will all fit on Jesus’ horse when he show up for the Second Coming. I explain only he will ride the horse, the rest of us will float about with the angels, apparently.
This Sunday we will light the second candle on our Advent wreath. Another year is coming to an end.