well, it's been a difficult week. but let me back up...
i've been using fb to update you all, and try to maintain contact with many of my ny friends. it's been interesting having only electronic media to interact with 99.9% of the people i know. suffice it to say, it's been very frustrating at times (most because i really don't like when i'm misunderstood and can't bring a point across, or explain myself, without using 3,000 words. blame it on my english-student side, i guess :) ). which, i guess, is why i'm going to try to take the time to write this long update and be very candid about how things have been.
i think one of the hardest miscommunications i've had is how i feel about being in tucson. i think that most of the people who love me are concerned that it's a tough transition, being a completely new place, and as a result, begin with the idea that it's negative. so i've gotten a lot of emails and comments that say things like "i know how hard this must be..." or "i know you're sad to be away from ny..." and on the other end of the ellipses is something like "but remember, God is in control."
to borrow verbage from my new-philosopher of a husband, "this is problematic, for a few reasons" :) and now i want to explain why...
- i've approached this whole move with an open mind. i knew that tucson wouldn't be upstate ny, and i knew that if i had any hope of liking it, i had to come to terms with this early. i think i did ok with that. and truth be told, tucson's not all that different from the northeast. people are honest and friendly, and straight-forward. and there are a ton of good things about living here... like the access to local, natural, healthy produce and meats. steve and i both feel so much healthier just because our diets are so much better. also, the landscape, while different from that of the northeast, is really pretty. i had always wondered why the mountains in "America the Beautiful" were purple. i'd only seen green, white, and grey mountains, and mountains aflame with foliage. but right in that time between sunset and twilight, the mountains in the southwest become this lovely shade of smokey violet. there's also tons of great restaurants here. i could go on and on.
i guess what i'm trying to say is that God has been very kind to move us to a place that doesn't feel as foreign as it might have. i actually don't feel like i'm in another country. i don't get exasperated because people do strange things that i don't understand. it's actually a culture that's been pretty easy for me to navigate. and for this, i am really thankful :)
- as backwards as this sounds, the references to God have not been comforting. infact, they've actually been really frustrating for me. before explaining why, let me say that if you're one of the people who have said something like this, i know that you had no way of knowing, and that you only said it out of love and concern for me and for steve. for your love and caring, i am so very thankful. and for your prayers and kindness, i am indebted to you. i do not mean this explanation to be any kind of rebuke or censure, but just me explaining my situation, so that as friends, we can better understand each other.
ok, so this part of the explanation is going to take a while :) prepare yourselves. :)
ever since we knew that God was calling steve to go back to school, even before we knew where, i've been thinking of what my role is. i'm steve's wife, and i hold to a biblical view of marriage, so aside from asking the "are you sure?" and "can we pray/fast about this together before we make a decision?" questions, i've been very committed to this life change.
before you gloss over that last phrase, i want you to understand what this change in direction meant for me. we lived in a place where we were surrounded by a really amazing group of friends who supported us in so many ways. the fact that we packed our moving truck in less than an hour is evidence of this. the fact that you're reading this right now is further evidence. beyond our friends, we had a really great situation. the church took good care of us, and we were at a place where we were ready to start a family. i don't think i need to explain to you how much i love children... or how much i yearn to start a family. i don't bring all this up because i'm bitter or resentful, but because i want you to see what this change meant... what i had to let go of, or put on hold, so that i could be supportive of my husband's calling.
and so i set to work, back in may even, looking for a job at the university. an administrative assistant position would mean a job that i felt comfortable doing everyday, and beyond that, saving almost $20,000 in tuition. even now, i still think it was the wisest choice for me. also, i chose to put off pursuing teaching until we knew more definitely where we would be long-term. steve and i made me finding such a job a priority, even to the point of leaving our (my) moving date up in the air, incase i got a job.
but i didn't get a job before we moved. i though "ok, well, once i'm down there, it will be easier." and everyone said the same thing to me. i had a lot of people tell me "you'll get the perfect job! God has the perfect job for you!" "don't worry, that's how God is... i bet you get a job the 1st week you're there!" my grandmother even put her hands on my shoulders and said an affirmation (i'm not exactly sure what this is or what i believe about it, but out of respect for my grandmother... sure! why not? :) )
so we moved, and i had planned to get any job i could as soon as possible, while continuing to apply to the university. hence the waitressing job. the purpose was to have income asap. i'm not too proud to waitress or sell clothes :) i figured it was just part of that initial fog, when you're waiting for the details to fall into place. i checked the university website almost daily, & dutifully wrote a specific letter of interest for each job. when i hadn't had a single interview after a few weeks, i called the HR office and asked for some advice. i followed it & continued to apply... mostly for admin assistant and admin associate positions, but also coordinator positions, and anything else that popped up that my experience and education fit. (i had applied to one job where i would be a liaison between the university and local high schools helping with a program to make "intro to engineering" available to hs students.)
nothing. not a single call. not a single email or interview. it was starting to get really tough to continue to apply for jobs that i felt like i had no hope of getting. to continually put the effort of researching jobs and departments and rewriting letters of interest, only to continually get nothing in return was starting to wear on me. i mentioned to steve that i was starting to think that God just really didn't want me to work at the university, for whatever reason. i even suggested that i stop applying. as long as waitressing was paying the bills, i was ok with that.
but meanwhile, i wasn't making exactly what i though i would make at the restaurant. and b/c they are very overtime conscious, i couldn't pick up any additional shifts. this was very stressful for me. also, an application at talbots had produced an interview, then a 2nd and 3rd interview. i was nervous about committing to two part-time jobs. i needed to be making a little bit more to satisfy our weekly budget, but didn't want to have to limit my availability (and thus number of shifts) at the restaurant.
this brings me to tuesday. i worked the lunch shift and had until 5p to call talbots to officially accept the position. i checked my messages and there was one from a man at the university! he didn't mention an interview in the message, but hey, at least my foot was in the door! now was my time to shine! i excitedly looked up the job description and noticed that in my online profile, i was listed as "no longer under consideration" for that particular job. knowing that technology is not always perfect, i called anyway. the gentleman was nice to explain the details of the job, and i was glad to be able to assert myself in a medium other than resume/letter of interest. i asked him the final question--i'm listed as "no longer under consideration" is this accurate? unfortunately, it was.
so to sum it up, i'd had one returned phone call in about 5 months, and it was for a job they weren't even interested in me for. i went from hopeful and excited to hurt and bitterly disappointed. i decided to accept the position at talbots. when i called, the manager and i bartered over what my availability would be. she wanted every other saturday night... one of the few shifts at the restaurant almost guaranteed to be at least a decent take-away, and she wants me to give it up? how is this helping my situation?
i went from thinking i'd finally landed the job i'd been waiting for to feeling like i was now beholden to two jobs where i still wouldn't be able to make the budget consistently. it felt like cruel and unusual punishment to have the man call. especially after i'd finally resigned to God that the university job wasn't happening. why raise my hopes just to dash them? why dangle the bait right under my nose only to swipe it away right before i caught it?
why God? haven't i given up everything? haven't i given up my friends? haven't i given up my church? haven't i given up the hope of being a stay at home mom? haven't i given up the hope of having kids young in life? haven't i traded a large two bedroom apartment for 450 sq ft? haven't i sold many of my possessions? haven't i humbled myself to work at jobs i did before i had three degrees? (while still paying for those degrees, i might add!) why tease me? why show me how close i can be without getting the thing that would ease the burden? i'm not asking for $50,000/yr. i'm not asking for an extra car or extra bedroom. i'm asking to pay my bills. i'm asking for the opportunity to be responsible and a good steward, to help steve follow his calling!
can you feel my despair? can you feel how hard this was? even now, i'm crying, reliving the pain and disappointment, the feelings of failure. and it's not because i don't like tucson. i like tucson, i just want the opportunity to be able to do a good job of being supportive of steve. i want what the american dream promised me... study hard, earn degrees, and you'll get a good job. instead, i have debt from said degrees, and jobs i could have done w/o that education. the irony stings.
the next day when i woke up, instead of a fresh morning, the knot in my stomache was tighter. i worked a double and choked back tears through both shifts. then i randomly picked up a book. steve had given it to me about 4 yrs ago, when we were just friends, and i was going through a particularly deep and dark valley. it's called "hope grows in winter" and it's basically a collection of short accounts of people of faith going through really difficult times, and how those times are when hope is given a true chance to grow. what i found particularly helpful was admitting how angry i was... and still am (a little). (hey, i'm a work in progress, here!) i can now fully empathize with the archetypal male who has a rough day at work and comes home with a chip on his shoulder. (poor steve!)
i also began to think through the people in the bible, to find some sense of truth in my situation. of course job came to mind. partially because he never got to know why. partially because he lost his dreams. i know a lot of christians who will tell you that God is a dream-giver. you know, this is true for a LOT of people... but not job. (and i'm sorry, but i don't think the 2nd wife and kids were the actualization of the dream.) i don't want to expect something from God he hasn't promised me.
and this ties into why "God's in control" just seems trite to me. it's like saying "it's all gonna be ok." i don't deny the truth of the statement, but it just feels like the answer doesn't understand the situation. the answer doesn't attend to the struggle and the pain. to be honest, the best thing you could ever say to me is "i'm praying for you." (and, of course, hahaha, actually do it. please don't just tell me that you're praying and not pray. :) )
i also looked at hannah. she's always been a favorite of mine. but this time, i felt her pain. kids were more than just "maternal fulfillment", they were the way of providing for your family. and hannah couldn't have kids. God just wouldn't give them to her. why? i don't know. he didn't tell her. all i know is that in the moment when eli mistakes her despair, her sense of failure as a wife and woman, for drunkenness... yeah, i get that. plus, she gets kids in the end, so i'd like to think that i just need to be patient... even though the idea of waiting tempts me to be angry again.
so that's it. i love tucson, just wish i had a better job situation and God's view of things. i share this for 2 reasons... so you don't have to worry about me adjusting to tucson :) and so you can pray for me. for my struggles... both the job ones, and the spiritual ones. truth be told, i feel like this is a spiritual attack situation, and i very rarely feel that way.
...and i do ask just one favor... i've literally poured my heart out to anyone who is my fb friend. if you have a response... good, bad or ugly, please respond in a private medium (a fb message or an email).
thank you. :)