December 4, 2015

Part Two: Pray, Hope, and Don't Worry

Part Two:

That was probably the scariest moment of my life. One I never really expected, or prepared myself for.

Michael was laid off on June 30th. But, he couldn't bring himself to tell me over the phone, obviously. So, when he got word that he needed to pack his bags and fly home for the last time, he expanded his job search to anything within a couple hours from where we lived.

An old friend from college had a job posting up on LinkedIn. It was for a Civil Engineer position in Elgin, Il. He contacted his friend, and met him for dinner when he flew back to town the night before he came home.

After I stopped crying, he told me about everything he had done during the last few days, and that he had an in-person interview with this company in Elgin the following Tuesday. I cried some more because I knew, if he was offered this job, and accepted it, we would have to move. It was too far for him to commute every day. And, that was the whole point.

When he started this job hunt, our main focus was getting him home every night, so we could be a regular family. Without moving to IL, he would barely be home because of the awful commute - averaging 5 hours round trip every day. We wouldn’t really be any better off than we were with him in the oil fields.

I was heartbroken. When we moved back to Indiana in 2013, I had this dream of settling down into a new, full life. We would be close to friends, and extended family. We could step back into a community that was already there, waiting for us to come back. I was so excited about starting this new chapter. When we bought our house, it felt as though all the pieces finally fell into place.

But, that feeling only lasted for so long because life with three kids, 3 years old and younger is just hard. There’s no way around it. It got harder for me every time Michael came home. I was always preparing for him to leave again. And so were the kids. Our family life was slowly deteriorating right before my eyes, and I didn't know how to fix it.

Over the next few weeks, I tried not to think about the past or the future. I did what I usually do, and I buried myself in the immediate. Regardless of what happened with the job in Elgin, we knew we absolutely had to sell our house. He had applied for enough jobs in our area that we knew we would no longer be able to afford it. So, we patched holes, repainted rooms, shined floors, deep cleaned and decluttered. It took about 3 weeks to get everything ready.

Honestly, I was relatively peaceful about this process. Mostly, I attribute this to all of my prayers. But, it was also a fulfillment of a desire, in some ways. About a year before all this happened, I began reading a few blogs about minimalism. I felt a tugging in my heart. I cleaned, and decluttered, and donated the things we didn't need or use anymore. This helped a little.

But, anyone with small children knows that stuff just accumulates in your house. You don’t know where it came from, or how it got there. It’s like little fairies just bring stuff into your house while you are asleep. It’s a constant process to stay on top of all the people and things coming in and going out your door.

A while later, Pope Francis came out with his encyclical, Laudato Si, and I felt this tugging again. We owned too much; too much house, too much yard, too much stuff. What did we really need? I had no idea. But, I just felt funny about where we were at in our lives. I continued doing my best to get rid of the small things. But, even with all my efforts, I couldn't change the big things because we had just bought our house in 2013. We were stuck.

Really, we were mostly just stubborn (and scared!). Losing his job kind of forced our hand in giving it all up. And, I was at peace with that. A house is only a house. We won't take it with us when we die.

After a lot of work, we got it listed in mid-July. We had a few showings that first weekend, and we received a solid offer that Monday. After some negotiations, we had a signed contract within 7 days. Thank you, Jesus and Mary!

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