So the big secret is that Plantboy applied for a job in Denver.
The job seemed nearly perfect, though probably more stressful than his current job. He was recruited into applying for the job by former colleagues from some years back. The timing, for us, could not have been better. The pay would have been a bit higher, but future opportunities greater.
As he prepped for his interview I must admit to making plans. Maybe even a lot of plans. Nearly every future scenario I played out in my head put me in Denver this fall. We were looking at neighborhoods within 10 minutes of these Littleton temple. We would have been within an hour of several of Plantboy's siblings and his parents. The schools are excellent there. We'd be an EASY day's drive from my family. Church is strong. . . .
What is that saying? Chickens before they hatch?
He made the interview cut (they interviewed 5-6 out of more than 200) and the final decision went down to Plantboy and one other guy. The other guy had more experience of the type they were looking for. That man was offered the job this week; Plantboy was let down easy.
So after nearly six weeks of deep stress and unknowns, absolutely nothing has happened. Nothing.
I'm taking it worse than Plantboy. I had begun to daydream about choices of places to apply for jobs. A house with a space. Towel racks. Indoor laundry. Room to walk. Schools that were funded and effective at every level. A chance to coast for a little while calling-wise. I stormed and cried quite a bit. Mostly to myself . . . and a bit to my mother.
The thing is this: When we moved here nearly six years ago, Plantboy had a strong impression that we were moving to Oregon to help strengthen the Church. He believed that he would get his current job because the Lord needed us here for other reasons and we would have never come without a job. I've since come to believe this too. But we are burned out. I am as tired right now as I was at the end of my mission. The difference is that there was an expiration date on my missionary service. There isn't one here.
Don't get me wrong. Our lives have been good here. We talked at length about a possible move to Colorado, and the losses we would incur because of it. Staying here probably meant more family time--Eugene is a smaller city than Denver and the lifestyle is slower and work is closer. Going probably meant a greater support system for the kids in terms of extended family, better schools and stronger wards. In truth, most of our reasons for wanting to go have to do with the children. I worry about them here. Mostly I worry about the unknown. Staying here in Oregon is an acceptance of raising our boys, in many ways, very differently than I was raised. This will continue to be new territory for me.
Part of my disappointment this week has stemmed from my now greatly reduced employment opportunities. Our schools here, already so strapped for funds, are supposed to make further cuts this year. Further cuts? There are 38 children in my son's class! What else can be done without sacrificing their future? Some certified, master's degreed teachers sub for upwards of 4 years before finding a job. Sub??? I think I'd rather eat paint. Because of moving possibilities I've already missed the lottery chance for the school in which I had hoped to work and put the kids. I also delayed certification because the process is a little bit simpler in Colorado.
We have been blessed here, no doubt. But we have sacrificed a lot too--to work for the Church in Texas and time for the Church here. I lay on my bed Wednesday pleading with the Lord for acceptance of the realities of a life here. For more gratitude. Pleading for the strength to face the sacrifices that I know are still to come. Pleading to feel His love. This week our activity feels only like sacrifice. I want so badly to be more active in the Gospel, but the demands of the Church have become so taxing that I'm out of balance. My first, selfish thought when I got the news that we would not move was that I could not, in good conscience, now ask to be released. Plantboy and I have served nearly our entire time here in presidencies--most often at the same time.
This is all very blunt and raw. I guess it doesn't matter much; I only think about 15 people are regularly reading anymore. Mostly what I want is to go to the temple and rest my head on a couch in the celestial room for about an hour and hear the Lord whisper that my sacrifice is seen and accepted. But the temple is two hours away and this month I cannot afford the babysitter or the gas money to get there.
I have a testimony that sacrifice brings blessings. Perhaps if I feel so good at recognizing the sacrifices, what I need to pray for is eyes to see the blessings too.