Some years ago, my husband and I took over a small mechanics company with six employees and many clients. It was a small dream come true also for the fact that we could in this way, ensure a business future for our children.
Though the clients assured us that nothing would change, we came up against the harsh reality of a self-run business already in the first six months of work: discontinuity, bureaucracy and also some subtle attempts at corruption.
It was important for us to do things legally and ignore these requests, but due to this attitude and the crisis of the automobile sector, in the span of a year we saw that the company’s turnover had been reduced to half. We thus found ourselves with lots of debts and without any resources, and as a consequence had to face the most difficult choice of firing most of the workers, giving them the time to find new jobs. We were also forced to sell the machinery to be able to give them their benefits.
We took it all as a failure but didn’t give up. Around us the Focolare community of which we have been a part for some years, supported us with prayers and we entrusted ourselves to God to guide us in our decisions. Divine Providence did not tarry, and the occasion came up to change our business sector, which would give more warranties for continuity: my father gave us a sum with which to face the most urgent things; one of our sales agents leased a machine to us without charge; and the suppliers allowed us to make deferred payments. So we slowly recovered.
The most important result of that period was that our children had grown up with the concept of giving more value to the important things of a sober lifestyle, and experienced God’s love through many small but important signs. And this strengthened our family bonds.
The year 2009 marked the start of the global economic crisis, and so we too felt the effects. At times we were overcome with discouragement but went ahead despite the immense difficulties that gave no certainty to the future. However, we confided in Providence which amazed us on many occasions, for example, that time when we were so worried because we hadn’t received even one order! I asked the volunteers of my group, with whom I share the Focolare spirituality to pray, and towards noon the fax machine started printing out 72 pages of orders! We really touched the power of prayer with our hands, and the concrete love of God for us.
This summer, one of our clients who used to commission some occasional jobs, assigned an important job to us, that lasted a few months but which gave future prospects of huge orders and, therefore, the economic serenity we had always dreamed of. Towards the end of this job we discovered that the pieces produced would be used in the heavy artillery industry.
We recalled the images of desperation of the many refugees escaping from wars in their countries. The decision to stop working for this company was a difficult one, since we could have ensured work for many months. But we had no doubts whatsoever.
What made us happier is the fact that our son who had started working with us, fully agreed with our decision, and we are certain that God’s providence which we have experienced so many times over the past years, will not fail us.