Thursday, December 16, 2010

Some Explaining To Do

Bear with me... I feel that this will be a hard post to write, but one that I feel is necessary.  It's been a long time (seemingly) since I've wrote about anything here that is about me, and I've only been thinking about this for about 12 hours, so it might be a bumpy ride.
I think this blog post centers around who I am as a person and how that plays into the recent decisions that we've made as a family unit.  In the past few weeks, I've been asked a number of questions and presented with a number of comments which, combined with allowing all of the recent decisions in our lives to overwhelm me yesterday, resulted in a meltdown of epic proportions... yesterday was a very painful day in that respect.
This post doesn't poke at any one person... and to be honest, I don't have a beef with anyone either.  I feel like I've adequately talked through all of this with those who question, but what that made me realize, and why I'm posting here, is that if that many people are actually saying something, how many people aren't?  And, if you aren't, do I really want you thinking what you're thinking?  Heh.
So... to give you a sampling of the questions/comments that may be running through your own head...

"I hope your husband appreciates you."
"I'm just asking what you really want for you.  Not what Adam wants."
"Are you sacrificing some of your happiness so Adam can be happy?"
"That's not how the story in Gen. 2:18 was supposed to go."
"You [Erin] are a saint."
And, in all of these comments and questions, I realized that in explaining what is going on, I never explained how this affects me or pertains to me or how much of a hand I have had in these decisions.  Or why I am on board.  Or anything.
So... let's back up a few years.  When we moved to Pella six years ago, there was obvious potential here.  Both of us were awarded good jobs with Pella Corp.  Neither of us was bad at our jobs; Adam is actually pretty good (I think).  Upon realizing that manufacturing was not where my heart lay, I went back to Rockwell Collins, but in order to do that the way I needed it to work, I went back as a contractor.  However, contracting opened up a whole host of new possibilities for me, so even though quickly the housing industry was beginning to affect Adam's potential at Pella Corp, I was able to adjust my own work schedule so that we could be comfortable whilst having children and staying home part-time.
Which brings me to another point to discuss.  My motives were questioned.  Didn't I originally want to stay home full-time?  Whatever happened to that dream and why does it seem suddenly like what is happening is an exact 180 degree shift of that?  Well, to be honest, unless we wanted to move into a smaller house and make a number of sacrifices we're not willing to make, I could not currently stay home part-time.  We already don't have cable.  Sure, we have cell phones, but we don't have the biggest plans.  I have fast internet so that I can work more effectively, but even if we reduced the speed, the bill would still be there.  We feel that savings and tithing is important.  Because of all of these things, we chose as a family for me to be part-time.  And I have enjoyed it.  Truly, I have.  My kids LOVE their daycare lady, and she offers them so much that I have found I don't have the patience for.  Does that make me a bad mom?  Of course not.  Does that mean that I would suck at being a full-time stay at home mom?  I have no idea.  But, I have enjoyed getting to have my cake (work part-time) and eat it too (stay home part-time).
So that leads to me continuing down that path and deciding to go full-time in January...
Back in October, we were presented with an opportunity for Adam to take the separation from Pella Corp.  The original plan was for Adam to find a new job, hopefully in Colorado.  I feel that I am not at liberty to discuss a lot of what is centered around my own job right now, but suffice it to say, we were simply planning for the easiest route at the time that would get us to Colorado.  Yes, we were trusting that God would tell us what to do and how to get there and where to go, but it all began very simply.  I even figured I would stay part-time.  Instead, we have learned to roll with whatever is thrown our way.
Soon after taking the separation, we discussed Siebel.  If you know Adam at all, you know how passionate he is about brewing.  This passion has led to us discussing different ways over the last three years or so that we could figure out how to send him to Siebel so that he could decide whether or not he wanted to be a brewer.  See?  My husband is very sensible... logical... whatever labels you want to apply to him.  Instead of jumping ship and screaming from the roof that he wants to be a brewer and running head-long into it, he decided long ago that he couldn't truly make that leap without first investigating.  Siebel is the perfect way for him to investigate while continuing to learn about his craft.  Yes, it's expensive.  But really?  In the scheme of things?  It's inexpensive when going can determine whether a dream you have is something that can be made reality or not.  And to have a dream like that... to be that passionate about it... and to know it is within reach?  That is awesome.  So truly awesome.  I wish I was that passionate about something in my life... but wait, I am.
And again, we didn't go into the decision to send Adam to Siebel without it being a family decision.  We discussed how it would affect us financially, relationally... we have discussed it up and down and inside out.  Part of making Siebel work is for me to go full-time in order to support our family while Adam is away.  The house isn't selling, and possibly not anytime soon.  The mortgage and bills and everything else still needs to be paid.  This needs to be done whether Adam is at Siebel or not.  And to be honest, it was not a difficult decision for me at all to request to go to work full-time for the foreseeable future.
So, that begs the question, am I giving up my dreams so that Adam can pursue his?  Am I giving up my happiness so he can find his?  The answer is, in short, no.  For starters, Adam isn't unhappy. 
I have never met another person in my life who could make lemonade out of lemons every single time.  Everything going on with the economy and Adam's work?  Upsets me more than it does him.  As said in a past post, he enjoys his work, likes the people he works with... there is no worldly reason as to why he would leave his job.  We just knew that was what he was supposed to do.
Am I giving up my dreams and my happiness?  In short, no.  And, after a lot of discussion yesterday and reflection last night, I came to realize that my ultimate goal... my ultimate reason.... that which I am passionate about...?... for doing what I do and doing things how I do them... is for safety... for knowing my family is taken care of... I make decisions based on us as a family... not based on me and what I want.  Because what I want... what I want is for the whole of us to be a content, joy-filled, and safe family.  So, one might pin a concrete statement on that by saying, "In order to achieve that, I need to be a full-time stay at home mom."  At one point, that is what I thought my goal should be.  But, my goal is bigger than that.  Wider... broader... it is more encompassing than that.  And I change... I shape and mold myself to reach that ultimate goal... that familial goal... that what I want is to take care of my family.  To be the best that I can be and to do the best that I can do such that I can achieve that.  And that means rolling with change and morphing myself to be who I need to be... and ultimately, that is where my heart's desire lies.
And frankly, I love it.  I thrive on change, I thrive on expectation, I thrive on finding order in chaos.  Have you ever talked to me about my work and what I'm doing there?  I'm often more stressed when I don't have much to do than when I'm seemingly overwhelmed by the amount in front of me.  I'm often more stressed by feeling stagnant and like we aren't going anywhere than I am when we are planning a massive change in life such as this.  I don't have much stress right now because I'm trusting and believe that we are doing what we're supposed to be doing.  Yes, sometimes, the uncertainty of it all comes crashing down around my shoulder (i.e., yesterday) and I have to reflect and reset, but I feel more content today amidst the chaos than I have for months of complacency.
So... again, I apologize for how choppy this post might seem... I hope you have gotten a sense by now that I don't feel as though I'm sacrificing anything in all of this in order for us to achieve our goals.  And maybe that brings me back around to Adam.  It seems from the outside that I'm sacrificing a lot in order for Adam to go off and have fun.  But, have you thought about it from the other side of it?  Adam is not going to see his family for twelve weeks (minus a few weekends).  Adam is going to be going to school full-time which includes tests.  He's not going to be living in comfort, and sure, while he will be enjoying all of this, he also knows that by the end of this class, he has to hope that he has made a decision about whether he wants to pursue a brewing profession.  To be honest, I feel like I have it a lot easier than he does.  There is much expectation on him in all of this (some by himself, some by me), and we don't know what that will mean for our future.  My goal?  My heart's desire?  To support us and take care of us and know that we are going to be okay at the end of this bumpy ride.
Does my husband appreciate me?  How does one even begin to answer that question?  The only answer I can give you is yes, he does.  I don't know how to explain it... I know it.  And that is enough, I feel.  To know is more important than needing to be able to explain.  I wish there were words to express and explain to people how much I know my husband respects me and appreciates me and loves me and honors me.  I simply know he does, and that is enough.
And... well, I feel that I do need to tie God into all of this as well, as He has definitely been The Force in our lives through all of this.  And, overwhelmingly I feel that I need to quote some scripture that I feel ties up nicely how I can rest in my family as my hope and dreams, how I can love and believe in my husband and what he is doing, and find my own happiness in all of that.
Ephesians 5:21 - 33: 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing[b] her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh."[c] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

How can I express to you what this Scripture really means?  If you've read it before... if you know it, you know how this Scripture pertains to our lives.  This Scriptures is why I think in terms of us instead of in terms of me.  Adam and I were two very independent people who came together as a couple and who were still living very independent lives.  Even as we have had children, we had to deal with how to be a family unit without losing ourselves in all of it.  And, we have found that for us being a family unit involves making decisions as a couple... as a family... while still enjoying who and what we are as separate people.  We have grown so much in love for each other, dare I say, even more since having children, and we have come to learn what it means to support and respect and love each other.  And in doing so, we are able to make decisions such as these (i.e., the mass of life which we're currently in) without feeling as though one or the other is profiting more, sacrificing more, etc.  We are able to make decisions such as these, without letting it upset the whole apple cart and allowing it to be the downfall of our family... our children are doing great, they are unaware of all that is going on around them, and I know full well they will be okay.  In the end, we are doing what we are doing for our family, having made these decisions together, knowing full well that as long as we keep our bond tight, no matter what happens, we will be stronger and better for it in the end.  And much of that is attributed to this Scripture.  To God.  Because, as I said, he is The Force.
I hope that this post has shed some light on the subject of who I am not just as a person, but as the wife of my husband, and as a follower of Christ.  I also hope that this hasn't opened any healed wounds with anyone I've discussed this with in the last couple of weeks, because truly, honestly, I can see why the questions and comments came about and were asked of/directed at me.  Hardly ever have I taken time to open up myself to you about what is going on inside my heart; so often I share with you what is going on around me.  So, I hope that this answers some questions and puts to bed any concerns people might have.
with love,

1 comment:

Becky said...

Well said. I've gotten similar, but different questions from people when Joel began his travel position and again when we chose to move to California. I had a hard time explaining and making people understand that part of what makes me happy is Joel being happy. If that means sacrifice on my part, well, that's life right now and I'm ok with that. Thank you for sharing Erin!