I lost my job on November 12th. No warning. Out of the blue. No good reason. With the holidays staring me square in the eyes, mortgage payments and bills to be payed, I got a stock email alerting me that my services as a sports writer with [company that must not be named] were no longer needed.
Good riddance, right? Talk about bad timing.
I was angry. I was hurt. I was frustrated and I felt betrayed. I’ve put my heart and soul into being a professional sports writer since 2010 and I like to think I’ve been pretty darn good at it. And they fired me?
It was more than just losing a paycheck at that point. It hurt my ego. It hurt my sense of who I was.
I hadn’t realized it until the moment that I lost it, but for the past six years I’ve identified as a sports writer. I had found pride in being able to analyze games, bring perspective to them and bring some semblance of knowledge and insight. I found pride in my ability to write and communicate. My ability to entertain and relate.
I found pride in the amount of people who commented on my work. The readers, the Twitter followers.
Maybe it truly does come before the fall.
Because in that moment, reading about how Andrew Kulha – sports writer, was no longer needed, no longer wanted; I felt like I lost a part of myself. I lost some of my identity. That thing I bring up when I meet new people. That thing people most often talk to me about when we hang out.
I’m the sports guy, right? That’s what I do. That’s who I am.
But maybe, just maybe, that’s not who I am.
I can’t lie, it’s been tough being unemployed. Sure, I’ve found some free lance work and I’ve appreciated everyone who has pitched in to find me leads and create connections for me. There are even a few great opportunities on the horizon that I’m waiting to come to fruition — hoping that they are not too good to be true.
But it has been a shocker. It has shaken me to the very core of who I am. At the end of the day, my identity was stripped away. Who I thought I was, was no longer who I was, and in the darkest of the darkest night — I was left helpless.
It seems like men such as myself are always trying to hold on to control. We try to work everything out in our favor. Pound the pavement, hit the road, kiss babies and shake hands until our objective is completed. We keep it in our hands. The ball is in our court, or at least we want it to be.
But here I am without control. I’ve done what I can to get myself back on my feet and now I’m just waiting. No Mr. Mayer, I’m not waiting on the world to change, I’m waiting on my world to change.
And I’m helpless. I feel absolutely helpless out here amongst the waves, just bobbing up and down like a buoy in the storm.
This is the point of the story when the sports writer in me is looking for the comeback.
It’s the narrative we all love: Team X overcomes Team Y despite all the odds being stacked against them. Despite going into the locker room down big, Team X kept fighting, kept believing in themselves and believing that the ultimate goal — the win, the championship, the trophy — is still attainable.
And sometimes it is, but other-times it isn’t.
Sometimes the gritty underdog fights until the end and comes up just short. Hell, sometimes they fight and claw and never give up, but meanwhile they’re getting beat up by a clearly better team.
But we love them either way, don’t we? We love a team that doesn’t give up. We love a team that keeps fighting until the very end, always believing in that comeback.
So yeah, I’m down. It’s halftime and I’m spitting out blood in the locker room looking up at a steep hill to climb. I’m looking up at a lopsided scoreboard and the odds stacked against me, but I still believe in that comeback.
I will not give up.
A funny thing happened to me when I lost my identity. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m slowly but surely realizing a few things.
First, the sun still keeps coming up every morning.
I may not see it every day but my faith and the good book tells me that God is in control of my life and He loves me. I may not see it everywhere every day, but that sun has been coming up for every single day of my life so far, so I’ve got to trust that it will continue to do so even in my own personal darkness.
Second, and perhaps most important, I believe in the comeback because I remember which team I’m on. Life hasn’t taken the turn I wanted it to, but if even the birds of the air and the lilies of the field are taken care of, how can I go through my day not believing that it will all be okay?
“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these,” Jesus said in Luke 12. “If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith!”
I’m not alone in this. I have a wife who loves me, a daughter who fills me with joy and a family who supports me. Even more important, though, is the fact that I have a God who I believe will take care of me.
It may not go the way I planned and it may require patience, but I will make a comeback.
And so, because this blog is actually about our road and path to adoption, let me finish with this:
This may be a setback for us, but we will not give up our hopes and dreams to adopt. We believe in the calling that has been put on our hearts and we believe that when push comes to shove, our needs, as well as the needs of our future child, will be met.
Practically, what we will do is suspend our fundraising campaign. If you’ve donated so far, we appreciate your contributions more than you know and we will use that money for the adoption process. It’s just going into a private savings account right now waiting for the proper time. We need to focus on getting financially whole right now as a family, so until that moment comes we’re going to put active fundraising on pause.
But we will not give up. It’s only halftime.