Friday, January 06, 2012

Wide Open



Depending on how you look at it the wide open possibility of having absolutely no idea where your husband will work next can either turn you into a 10:30 a.m. Moscato drinker or cause you to create elaborate fantasies in your mind about your "next life."

Aaron has been diligently applying for jobs in the community where we have lived most of our married years.  This place feels like home to us, we have friends here that we'd fight to the death for, I only rarely get lost when driving around, and a Chuy's finally opened in said town two weeks after we moved to Haiti.  Rude.  Right?  Rude.  But it's here now, and we're here, so I'd gladly live right next door to Chuy's and see what it's like to eat nothing but tortilla chips and creamy jalapeno dip for the rest of my life.

If Aaron can find a job in the town that feels like home to our family, then that's our obvious preference.

To be an over-achiever in the diligence department, Aaron decided to branch out today.  He took a deep breath and started looking at jobs all over the U. S. of A.

My only fantasy so far about our "next life" involved our home town, Chuy's, tortilla chips, and liquid happiness.  Now that Aaron is looking at jobs all over the country and submitting his fancy resume my thought life is admittedly out of control.  Coming back to start all over is equal parts heartbreaking, thrilling, and nausea inducing.  I guess it's better to be letting my mind run wild dreaming of the life that is coming instead of sitting here stewing on the circumstances that find us here abruptly trying to piece our life back together.  Very little feels definite right now, but one thing I know for sure:  I down-right refuse to choose the road of bitterness.  I've been there before, have you?  I'm convinced there's not a worse place for a soul to live.  There is a fine, thread-like line between looking back to learn from mistakes and looking back, brooding, eventually being swept away in a deep, drowning current of darkness and despair.  There are times when I think of the gravity of this situation and all that must happen rather quickly for our family to be "okay" and I'm tempted to chew off all my fingernails or put on my running shoes, turn up my inappropriate running music, and run until my anxiety and maybe even my legs fall off right there on the asphalt.  Thankfully those moments of panic have been few and far between so far, and mostly what we feel is gratitude for a God that goes before us and provides a million opportunities every day for us to thank Him, see Him at work, and catch a glimpse of His faithfulness.  Instead of dwelling on what happened, I find myself thankful for our friends and family and every once in awhile I find myself in the middle of a disturbingly detailed daydream of what our life could look like next.

Aaron has an Ag degree from Texas A&M University.  I found myself dreaming the other day that some newly widowed rancher's wife would hire our family to live on her awe-inspiring acreage.  She'd be funny, sweet, and quirky.  A tad bit lonely.  Our herd of a family would move in next door.  While Aaron kept the ranch from going under, we'd fill her life with fun and laughter .  She'd fill our life with banana bread.  We'd introduce her to wii bowling, and she'd teach me how to fold a fitted sheet and can green beans safely so our family could bypass dying of botulism.

Then I realized that the lady in my dreams was the exact lady off Driving Miss Daisy.  Same.  Exact.  Lady.
Same face.  Same voice.  Same lady.

Scratch the dear old lady.

I started dreaming Aaron got that same rancher job, sans Miss Daisy.  This time he worked for a ranching family who liked the idea of having Aaron around.  The fact that we have four boys to help out is an added bonus because this couple's only son grew up to despise ranching and became a lawyer in a high rise building in New York City instead.  Tragic.  The parents were grief stricken, but still hold out hope that their beloved son will one day see the light, leave the big city, and come back to the ranch where he belongs.  I'd homeschool the kids in the middle of nowhere America and blog all about my precious children, our ranching adventures, and our mastiff.  I'd spend my spare time cooking beef and butter loaded meals. I'd snap pictures of our food.  The boys would saddle up early in the morning to go help their dad work cattle.  We'd all wear boots, do chores before the sun comes up, and I'd make bacon every morning for the first week or so and then would stop doing that because let's get real.  Who cooks bacon every morning?  No one.  I couldn't even keep that up in an elaborate fantasy.

Then I realized that this fantasy felt oddly familiar.  It felt real.  Too real.  Hmmm...  Oh.  Wait. A. Minute. Hold the phone.  This is Pioneer Woman's life.  It's official.  I'm hopelessly in love with her.

Aaron also has a background in video production and graphic design.  I wasted no time imagining that his video skills, incredible list of references, and 18 months of life in Haiti had landed him a job with IJM or Compassion International making videos that inspired people to action on behalf of the poor, enslaved, and imprisoned.  We'd move to Nashville because duh...that's where all the artsy people live.  The obvious next step would be for us to become friends with Andrew Peterson's family.  I'd offer to watch their kids any time they needed me to so that A-Piddy could crank out more books for us to read.  Andrew and his lovely wife would eventually introduce me to Sara Groves, and I'd probably lick her.  Because that's how much I love her.  Then I had an imaginary conversation with Sara Groves.  In case you are wondering, there is no recovering once you lick someone.  Try as you may, the conversation afterward will be awkward.

In between fantasies, I keep trying to really talk up the family band.  In the most excited voice I can muster I say things like..."If Dad can't get a job...you know what that means!!!!"  The boys all growl.  "Mom.  No.  We're not being a family band."  Even when I use my infomercial voice and add jazz hands to my family band suggestion they barely even look my way.  I have been pushing the family band idea for about a decade now.  They are over it, I guess.  Whatever, family.  I'm still not giving up on that dream.

When Aaron really wants to rain on my imaginary future plans he reminds me that he could go work for the styrofoam cup factory down the road.  They are hiring, in case you are wondering.  Aaron applied.  The position pays well.  If given the job, Aaron would do "cup checks on seams of formed cups" and run the box taping machine.  We had to read the entire job description three times before believing this was a real job.  It sounds way too Dunder Mifflin.


Crazy future fantasies aside, we're fighting daily over here to remember that God is in this.  We don't want to be worried.  No matter what Aaron does, we'll be proud of him.  He's faithful, hard-working, he can do smarty-pants jobs, and yet he also finds physical labor rewarding.  He's taught school, led worship, and served on church staff for many, many years.  He's been a carpenter.  He can fix just about anything.  His past employers have always been sad to see him go.  I'd put my money on Aaron any day.


If you know of any jobs that would fit, Aaron wants to be open to prayerfully considering anything.  A job is a job, and one thing we've learned over the years is that joy can be found in just about any situation.  No matter where we find ourselves next, we know God will provide, He'll give us ample opportunities to love each other and love our neighbors, and He'll grow deep and lasting friendships along the way.  You may need to remind me of those things in about 10 minutes when I start to forget and my fingernails start to look delicious.


I'm still not ruling out the family band.  No way.  

37 comments:

Lisa said...

Heather, you don't know me. In fact, I have no clue how I found your blog but I just love you. You make me feel normal...well maybe not normal. Maybe just relieved that someone else thinks the same way I do. ;) These imaginary scenarios run through my head often. I am a newly wed and my husband has been in the process for a few months looking for his first full time ministry position. I have told him that my two rules are there must be an HEB and Target within driving distance of his new job (of course I am kidding...or am I). Thanks for the silly and serious blogs. Grateful for you and your family (hope that doesn't sound creepy coming from a stranger.)

The Wakefields said...

Hi Heather, I know we haven't talked in years (and we didn't even that much when Clayton and I were in College Station) but I've been following your blog and praying for you the whole time. Thank you for your wisdom and willingness to let God be God. My dad, who farms in Roscoe (west Texas) is looking to retire...I could give him a call...

Leslie Wakefield

Stacey said...

I laughed out loud...and everybody looked.

I quelched it.

and then it happened again.

If you can have a family band, I can laugh out loud without explaination.

Right?

right.

Praying for you all.

oneilfamily said...

Work for Dave Ramsey...don't know if they are hiring, but we live in Nashville and home school and love it.

Andrea said...

The way you feel about Sara Groves is potentially the way I feel about you. Not kidding. You are so stinkin inspiring, not to mention hilarious. I could see you in any of those scenarios.. your family would rock it. Seriously. (yes, I realize that I don't actually know you and your family.. but seriously, i feel like I do.)
I know that God has a plan (cliche phrase, yes, but true nonetheless) and that He WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU.
I felt heartsick when I realized that your fam had left Haiti.. your blog is one that I read every single time you update and more often than not, I read your posts outloud to my hubby. We can relate on so many levels, and we really hope and pray that God uses this in some HUGE way in your life.

Praying all the way from Northern Alberta, Canada.

Andrea xoxo

www.afamilyofwolfes.blogspot.com

Kayla said...

I have enjoyed reading this post so much. I'm glad that I'm not the only one that has elaborate, detailed dreams like that. I am praying that you can have a near fantasy life doing exactly what God wants you to do.

beth lehman said...

Echoing all these comments so far... I laughed out loud several times, so that my kids and husband said "what?" I read and had to reread "lick Sarah Groves" cuz I thought you meant "like" but you di-n't! HAH!

My "fantasy" life is pretty rich, too, so I can completely relate. I have to stop my self from going and staying there too much!

Still thinking about you all and praying...

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

Oh my dear, dear heavens. First of all, I thought for a minute that I was the old lady, minus the widow part and, well, the oldness. Don't you know that my fitted sheet skills are legendary? Don't you know that I successfully canned my first batch of beans back in August? Does Aaron want to be a teacher or something administrationey for a bunch of wily, lunatic teenagers? HE DOES????? Perfect! I can hook you up. And I'll take you to Mazatlan every Thursday and you can move into our ghetto come July. Done. The end.

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

Have you always had the dreaded word verification or am I the one dreaming now? bye.

Paige said...

You should come to Saint Louis and be Missionaries in the Gateway House of Prayer. True Story. http://www.ghopstl.com/

and then I will be happy. Because you will live here and I will be laughing every day with you instead of having to wait for you to post on the silly blog.

Praying for you guys as you transition back to life stateside. with that huge dog too.

Falyn and Joyanne said...

I just want to say my little family of two are praying and interceding along side you and yours. Also, I can teach you how to fold a fitted sheet...one of my many party tricks:)

Christy @ pureMotherhood said...

Seriously, you are HILARIOUS. I have tears in my eyes. I think Aaron should be a stay-at-home dad and you should become a comedian.

On a more serious note, this really resonated with me (hubby is currently out of a job for the first time in our 12 year marriage): There are times when I think of the gravity of this situation and all that must happen rather quickly for our family to be "okay" and I'm tempted to chew off all my fingernails or put on my running shoes, turn up my inappropriate running music, and run until my anxiety and maybe even my legs fall off right there on the asphalt. Thankfully those moments of panic have been few and far between so far, and mostly what we feel is gratitude for a God that goes before us and provides a million opportunities every day for us to thank Him, see Him at work, and catch a glimpse of His faithfulness.

Carrie said...

We are in China, so I can't help in the job front. But, I will pray for you today as I run around with my 5 littles. Transition is hard, especially when it's sudden. I'm glad you have Sara Groves issues too. If I met her, pretty sure I'd start talking about a Sara Groves I knew in second grade who picked their nose and had lice. Then I'd be embarrassed by the comparison and have to feign a bathroom emergency to get myself out of the situation.

Jen | Our Happy Family said...

I've been following your blog since last year... this post is so well written. And exactly how I feel as we've found ourselves in a similar situation. Oh how I run every scenario through my head too! But I know God has a plan... and I've been praying he will lead us to the right new job and home and I will pray he does the same for you!

Stephanie Williams said...

I have enjoyed reading your last few posts. I only recently found your blog... but I'm praying for you in the midst of this turmoil of change.
Thanks for sharing this outrageously humorous yet oh-so-accurate struggle with the not-knowing.
Blessings on you and yours! ~SW

Singing Pilgrim said...

I also think about crazy possibilities. Our lives are also in transition, and my husband-to-be is in the midst of a job search. I love the way you articulated it.

Jessica said...

You are so funny! Love your outlook- choosing bitterness is so tempting. I pray you find a good job and peace for the next step.

Amanda said...

I know your situation is a very serious, real one but this post made me smile big. So much I can relate to right now. Keep up the good fight and the sense of humor. :) Amanda

Janessa said...

" I'd put my money on Aaron any day." :)

hodgesgal said...

Heather, you are so talented and I wish this blog paid you what you are worth. I, too would bet on Aaron anyday and know God has written the next chapter for you to share with all your readers. Welcome home and eat as much Chuy's as possible, that should always be allowed!!! I am personally going through some craziness here and you have reminded me that I too, need to remember I am not the only one and stop being self centered and think of others. Easier to say than do, but I must! I look forward to reading what God has in store for you and your family and even in the craziness you make me chuckle! styrofoam cups? seriously? that is funny!

Diabra said...

Heather, I love reading your blog. I'm an Australian married to an Australian, we live in Canada. I tiny bit relate to the not knowing what comes next thing. Good choice in resisting bitterness. Nasty road I agree. Now I'm about to go google Sara Groves.

Melody said...

Hi Heather,

Never commented before but I have to tell you that your last post was one of my top 10 favorite I've ever read on any blog! And knowing that you love Sara Groves as much as I do made me feel normal :) Praying for you and your family in this time of transition.

Jessica said...

Heather-I love all of your fantasies. I especially love that they have already happened to someone else or were in a movie. :) Praying for you guys to follow God's voice. He loves you!!

thistlewoodmanor said...

Wish you could move here (nowhere, Iowa), but I don't have a clue what you'd do for money. Best wishes wherever you end up!

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't he just work at Chuy's?

Jen said...

Heather, As with all the others, your family is in my thoughts and prayers right now. My husband was in the military for several years and we were forced to make several, sometimes unwanted, moves. There's a verse in Acts that I had to cling to at times.
"From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the EXACT PLACES where they should live. God did this so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him...". Acts 17:26-27
I sure hope that's comforting to you. Our very good God sees and knows and will lead you to exactly where you should be.
It might be a stretch, but we had a great church in Colorado Springs, Pulpit Rock Church, and they're in the process of looking for a worship pastor. It's a very missional community and could be a beautiful place to heal and serve. (And the pastor's a Texan, an Aggie!). Let me know if you want more info!
Jen Whitmarsh
sjwhitmarsh@msn.com

Jeff and Betsy said...

Has your family considered a job with World Orphans? www.worldorphans.org
Could be a perfect fit! :)

Andrea said...

I've said it once, but I'll say it again. I love how "wide open" and transparent you are. Your family is in my prayers as you transition and wait on the Lord for your next step.

brooke said...

oh, y'all are in my prayers during this time. transition is difficult. i know! i'm headed into the same thing.. looking for a job, wondering what my next life will be. only, it's just me and the 4 cats, not me and a small band.. *thinking* no, i couldln't train the cats to play. old-bitty kitty is too old to learn new tricks, as with maxie, plus max is busy teaching shlomo how to be a good-alpha cat and what it take to take care of me. bilal is just too goofy and has a touch of the adhd, and shlomo - he's busy learning how to take be a good alpha and take care of me to learn how to play an instrument..

so, rambling. i enjoy your fantasies. now, sara groves, she's amazing, absolutely amazing. i love her music. love, love love it! people around here, even the christians who love singer songwriter music don't seem to know her stuff. *sigh*

Sarah Kuhner said...

I follow your blog regularly and love reading your posts. I'll be praying for your family during this time. Looking forward to what God has in store for your beautiful family. Love you guys even though I don't really know you.

Molly said...

You realize that YOU are one of my favorite people. You always make me think, and laugh. And dream.

Because GOD is in your wonderful life. And HE is faithful, and you remind me.

Thank you.

You also ALWAYS make me want to live in Texas...I don't why?

Anonymous said...

Our amazing church is looking for a youth minister. College town, lots of home schoolers, not too far from Texas (8 hrs from Brenham, where my folks live), and lots of amazing opportunities here for ministry... as you well know about living in a college town.

eagle heights baptist church, Stillwater Oklahoma

jessie said...

My husbands uncle licked my arm the first time I met him. It was not pleasant. There's really no getting over something like that. Its been 10 years and thats still the first thing I think of when I see him.

CMB said...

Aren't you a Lactation Consultant? Here is a site with a lot of jobs a lot of places. Praying you find a place for your family and peace.

http://www.lactationjobs.com/a/jobs/find-jobs/q-Lactation+Consultant

Kristine said...

Hi Heather. You don't know me. I just blog stock you. :) I tried to email you a few days ago. Got your email from some mutual friends. If your husband is any good at graphic design then my husband said he may have a position for him in C.S. Let me know if y'all are interested.

Anonymous said...

Have him look at teaching jobs in Mississippi. Lots of high school AG programs in career-technical/vocational centers. He can take classes to get his teaching license during the first three years he's on the job. The Mississippi Dept. Of Ed. Will have a listing with links to all the school districts in MS. He'll have to look at each district for their application. Most will take an app and keep it active for a year even if there are no immediate openings. They start hiring in March/April so nows the time to apply. For licensure information, Google Research and Curriculum Unit at Miss. State. Process should be outlined on their site. If you can't find it, call the main number listed.

Anonymous said...

Miss. State is also a strong AG school. Check their site for job listings. You might also call MAFES at MSU for leads. Google it--Miss. AG. And Forestry Experiment Station.