Sometimes blessings come in disguise. I have been thinking lately about this Chinese story we read in grad school:
There once was a poor rice farmer, who had a very small field just large enough to feed his family.
Then one day a herd of wild horses came running through the village. They ran into the farmer’s rice field and got stuck in the mud, and since they couldn’t get away, they were his.
His neighbor came running over and said, “This is good news! Such good fortune! You are rich, this is amazing!” And the rice farmer said, “Good news, bad news, who knows?”
A few weeks later the farmer’s 12-year-old son jumped up on one of the wild horses for a ride, only to be thrown off and have his leg broken. The neighbor comes running over and says, “Oh no, this is such bad news!” And the farmer said, “Good news, bad news, who knows?”
A week later a Chinese general is marching through the farmer’s village on the way to war. On this march, the army is conscripting every healthy boy over 10 years of age. So they took every boy in the village except the farmer’s son because of his broken leg.
The neighbor comes running over and says, “Yes! This is wonderful news, how lucky are we!” And the father replies, “Good news, bad news, who knows?”
During my maternity leave, I was laid off from my job at a private school. Enrollment was down, so my position had to be eliminated. This probably sounds like bad new! But it has allowed me to collect unemployment benefits, about equal to the amount of money I would have been making at that job. So, it is sort of like getting paid maternity leave for another six months or so. This gives me precious time to bond with Baby Bear while she is little.
Another thing is that I did not have health insurance through my work. As a result, I became a member of this great cost-sharing organization called Christian Healthcare Ministries, which paid for all of my prenatal care. They would have also paid for my delivery costs, but I was able to get Medicaid to pay for those costs. And now Baby Bear is on Medicaid, so we don’t even have to pay a co-pay for any of her doctor visits. Other people I know with regular health insurance have had to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for their deliveries. We didn’t have to pay anything. A huge blessing!
I am sometimes a little bit worried about not having a clear plan for the future. I get frustrated with applying for jobs that I know have hundreds of applicants. I would have had a better chance of getting into an Ivy League college than I do of getting most of the jobs I apply for!
Because I am receiving unemployment, I had to go to the WorkSource office a few weeks ago to take some tests and meet with an employment counselor. The counselor looked at my resume and said, “Oh, you’re a teacher. Time to think of Plan B. We see so many teachers every day.”
Okay, sure. I would also accept a job as a writer for National Geographic or Outside magazine. Maybe White House Press Secretary. I do have a journalism degree, that should be worth something right?
Well, the point is, I don’t know quite what the future holds. Besides a lot of diaper changes. All I can do is enjoy this opportunity I have to bond with my daughter while she’s a baby. I am thankful to God for this opportunity. I love our time together! Although our conversations are a bit one-sided.