All of my family will readily agree that patience is not a virtue I possess. Former bosses have rightly suggested that I am ready, fire, aim. I live life at 75 miles per hour. But now, I live in a 35 miles per hour town, work at a 10 miles per hour campus and hang out with the beach lovers and slow talking people of the Georgia coast. My life has really transformed. I actually leave work undone on my desk now. When the clock hits five, I am headed to my car for my leisurely 12 minute commute over the bridge. I still make a to-do list, but it often only has one project on it for the day. Gone are the notebooks with page after page of tasks, proposals, reports, briefings and phone calls I need to make. Gone are the double white boards with projects and projections and significant due dates. Life feels really manageable now and that kind of makes me nervous.
Tim suggested that we take a two month break from fostering to allow our bodies to heal from the daycare diseases we had while our last little one was in our home and to build up some leave time from our jobs. Since I was exhausted, sick and needed some R&R, I agreed. But now we are nearing the end of our self-induced hiatus and I am anxiously awaiting the phone call that will bring the next little love into our lives and hearts. We both are.
I spent some time the past month and half contemplating what it means to have walked away from a career that I loved. I miss the anxiety that pulling together a major proposal brings. I miss the interaction with customers. I miss the debate and working it out between team members. And truth be told, I even miss the business travel, maybe not to Clovis, but another trip to Montreal or San Diego or Washington D.C. would be nice. In all this missing I thought, why not. Why not jump back in and do fostering too. I am Wonder Woman hear me roar. So I dusted off the resume and applied to a few jobs. Then I waited.
In the waiting I have really been seeking God and his will for my life. Is going back to what is familiar the right thing? Am I behaving like an abused woman who goes back time and time again? After almost two months, I’m pretty sure that going back into DOD world is not in the cards. I remembered the stress, the very long hours, the weeks and weeks and weeks away from home in lovely places like Waco and Clovis. The stress induced health issues I still battle. I also remembered the most painful experience of my adulthood thus far. A very close friend and colleague very purposefully and with malice tried and succeeded, some, in sabotaging my career by making up some horrible story about how I had abandoned her and was cruel and thoughtless while she was recovering from a bad breakup and shared it with my boss, most of the leadership team, many colleagues and an employee or two. It was totally false (I had been in constant communication with her mother and on suicide watch when she was at her lowest.) and she later admitted that in her pain (from the break up) she sought to make others hurt as well. Thank God for therapy for that after the damage has been done revelation. What she did not do is retract her story and make amends, she just apologized to me privately. Yeah, so I don’t miss that.
Where does all this seeking, remembering and waiting leave me? Right where I am. In a job that is not hard, is not exciting and really not all that challenging that offers me the flexibility to drop and run when the school or daycare calls. My employer has no problem if I call and say I have a new placement and will need the week off to attend all the doctor’s appoints, family planning meetings, court dates and arranging for day/after care. It also is affording me the time to get healthy. I walk the campus a couple of times during the day for a break so my weight is going down and my energy levels are going up. I don’t have the job induced stress any more as long as I keep my nose out of the drama that exists in every workplace.
I discovered I love TED talks and listen to several a day while crunching grant numbers and that has opened up a whole new world of interest in social sciences and current research into childhood trauma and its effects on long term health. (Seriously people, think twice before inflicting harm on your child – your adult onset heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes could have a direct correlation to childhood trauma you suffered. Do you really want to do that to your child?)
Now the praying for the next child begins. I pray for their safety and protection. I pray Jesus is right there with them holding their hands when they are scared. I pray that the right people speak up and step up and help them. And I pray for the Child Protective Services case workers who have the incredibly difficult job of removing this child from their home, who knows the signs of abuse and neglect and hopefully can read through all the lies they may be hearing to see a child that needs help. Our guest bedroom is ready and so are we, we think. As always I covet your prayers.
And one last thought – when I made this great leap of career suicide I shared with a friend (Janza) my fear that financially we would be defeated. She wisely encouraged me by pointing out that God would provide and bless us as we did His will. (I believe her words were, “Don’t worry. God will provide. You are doing his will.”) Having just done our taxes for 2016 I can say emphatically that Janza’s wisdom was right. Between Tim’s new job, my job and other income streams, we are making more money than we did when I was bringing in the big bucks. We are spending a lot of it on our fosters but that’s what it is for. Our two years of lean living are hopefully behind us. God is faithful.