Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Small Adjustment to the Plan

We all have decisions and changes that come throughtout our lives, some of them bigger then others, some of them easier to make then others.

A recent decision made me reflect on the career changes that have happened during our married life. Before we got married I was adamant that we would never move to Chatham - they were all just a bunch of backwards hillbillies and as much as I love the country there was no way I was living out in the sticks like that. After two years of marriage Rob made a decision to go from being a mechanic to a pig farmer ... and the farm he decided to work at was half-way between London and Chatham ... and so we became members of Chatham and joined the "backwards hillbillies". I soon realized that my stereotype was very very wrong. We did a lot of "growing" in Chatham, especially spiritually, and loved those years we spent there, which went by far to quickly.

Before I knew it we were adjusting our lives to another thing I had never thought I would do in my life - living in the city. With Rob's decision to go into the ministry came another move, this time to the city. Both of us were born and raised in the country, so this required a big adjustment, one that took quite some time to get used to. Amazingly I have adapted to the city, and although I still much rather live in the country, I have come to see the advantages of city living. Given where our lives are currently it would take a bit for me to decide to move back to the country, although now that we finally seem to be seeing doctors less often, I think I'd be more willing to entertain the thought.

So what does this all have to do with my title ... guess I'm just reflecting on how our lives keep changing, that each time we get settled, there is another jog in the road, and with each change we adapt. So when Rob made another decision on Saturday evening, it of course comes with us wondering about how this will effect the future, but I can take it in stride knowing that the Lord has always been there in the past and He will continue to be there in the future.

Okay, so what is this decision?

Rob has decided that he will not be going back to school in September but will be taking a year off (hopefully only a year). For some time Rob has felt torn between where his calling should be at this specific time. His desire is to complete school and go into the ministry, but at the same time he saw a need that required his attention, and felt that he should be helping out. It often ate at him, especially during those times when school was so thick and tough that he preferred to quit.

I had always said that I would support his decision to quit if he truly felt that was what he wanted to do ... but, I had one condition. He could quit, but he could not go back to trucking ... long hours where we (especially the kids) never seen him. Those hours may questionably be okay for a summer job when you have to make as much money as possible in a short period of time, but they are not ideal for family life. This was usually enough to set him back to some serious studying, for when he imagines working again he thinks of trucking ... the diesel in his blood runs strong in him. Thankfully his desire to be a minister is even stronger (I think ... it's an honourable desire, although living in a fishbowl isn't exactly what a person dreams of :)

Once again I am faced with something we thought we would not do. Rob will return to working for his brother-in-law, Ike, for the next year. Over two years ago Ike suffered brain injury from what they recently believe was a case of listeriosis. For the most part, this has left his wife, Heather, to run the business as well as take care of the family and keep up with the numerous appointments and hair-pulling medical issues. While Ike tries to pull his weight, this is not always possible. As you can imagine, this is taking a serious toll on Heather, who is becoming worn down, and they cannot go on in this manner without help. Help comes in the form of ... Rob. When the request for help was voiced, Rob knew it was an answer to the pull in his heart on what he should be doing. Since my dear hubby is talented in many ways :) he is ideal for the job. The biggest advantage is of course the fact that Rob has worked for Ike before and that Ike and Rob tend to have similar (and particular) ways of working. Rob is a mechanic and welder who can keep the fleet running, as well as do service runs. He has spent a fair amount of time behind the wheel, and has also done some dispatching, so he can fill in where and when necessary on that end ... he has a basic understanding of the overall business. Since this is not the run-of-the-mill trucking company, but one which specializes in modular office space, always wide loads, often over length, and occassionally over height, there is a fair amount of training one needs to be able to wear 3 different hats at one time. Rob can slide right into the position, where as someone else would need training, and most importantly, build trust and confidence. They are all too familiar with the consequences of having confidence in the incompetant... but that's another story.

Really this doesn't change our lives all that much ... not like the previous career changes that required moving and adjusting to new surroundings ... it just sort of puts things on hold for a bit. I guess it's just the whole idea that no longer are we more then half-way towards our goal, we're now only half-way (if that). It's more the fear for Rob and how he will be able to keep in tune with his studies (especially his languages) while he takes time off and the hope that the time away will not make it more difficult to return to his studies later. And while everyone probably thinks that it's great to have an income again for a year, this is probably my biggest worry and I must remind myself how we made it this far. The Lord has provided ... and He always will if we trust in Him alone. Those who are in the same situation as us will understand how working a year can mess things up as now our 2009 and 2010 tax years will have an income and we will no longer be low-income people. As low-income people we get good benefits from the government (CTB, OCCS, GST, etc) which we greatly depend on. As well we qualify for free dental services, most of our prescription drugs are covered (due to a very low deductible on the government drug plan), and we get discounted city services (e.g. swimming passes and lessons). This mean the first two years Rob is back in school will be more difficult ... but as I said, I must trust in the Lord. On the bright side ... at least we can have a social life again, no more of this studying till midnight every night.

At the same time we are thankful that Rob is able to help out and pray that his assistance will indeed be helpful. Due to the way the college curriculm works this is the most ideal time to take a year off - between first and second year. After first year Rob enters the rotating curriculm (2nd -4th year students all study together, so the same thing is only taught once very 3 years)and it would take longer to get all his schooling done if he took time off then. We often try to plan everything out in our heads, but time and again we are reminded that the Lord works things out the way He sees best. Eventually I will have to get used to life changing just like that, for if Rob ever does make it to the ministry we might find ourselves picking up, moving, readjusting and changing a few times in our lives yet ... guess I just thought that for the next three years I knew where we were at and what we were doing. I am thankful that at this time this is only a small adjustment to our plans.

For those of you had heard about our summers plans ... well those are now changed as well. Originally Rob was working the month of June and maybe the end of August. Taking the rest of the summer to study, study, and study as well as read, read and read and input his books/library into his computer. The plan was to spend the month of July living at my parents place while they are gone on holidays. We could all enjoy a big spacious house and even bigger and more spacious outdoors out in the country. Rob was looking forward to spending his time working outside on the deck enjoying the nice quiet of the country and going for long walks in the country to do his memorizations. There had also been some thought of spending some time in August in Chatham, this idea will no longer be feasible. We will still be spending July at my parents, but Rob will be working instead, which means a shorter commute to work for him. So a bit of an adjustment to our summer, but as long as we get our time out to enjoy the country all is good ... the kids would never forgive us if we didn't get to stay at Grandpa and Grandma's anymore, they've been really looking forward to the change of scenery this summer (as have the parents ;)

So that's the scoop from here.


HH said...

Wow Steph, quite an update there. Wishing you all every success in the changes and turns your lives will take you. May the break be beneficial for all parties concerned. I'm sure you are all looking forward to the summer months. Take care xx

willowsprite said...

Things don't always go according to our tiny human plans, but thank goodness there is a Master Plan we can rely on!

Anonymous said...

Rob & Steph

Wow, that is definately an adjustment but we are thankful you are able to help Heather and Ike out that way. No matter how much we like to think we have our lives planned out, God is in control and We are reminded of this too. Definately something we can be thankful for. A break, I would think would be welcome too but go back eventually ROB!! You and your family would be a blessing to any congregation you would minister too!!

Bert & Judy

amymom24 said...

Wow, that is quite a change from the original plan! I totally understand what you mean about having an income for a year and how that will affect everything. Is there any way for Rob to bank hours to spread it over two years? Might be a thought... We will pray that this will be a smooth transition and helpful for all parties involved:) All the best!

Willa Dale's Blog said...

The last few years of your lives have certainly been ones of change! As you said, as soon as you think you've got everything in order, something else comes into play. God knows the plans that He has for us, and no matter how hard we may try, we cannot change those. We must listen to His voice however quiet it may be and then do His bidding. We are happy that Rob is able to use his talents to help out Ike and Heather and we pray that the Lord will strengthen you all and give you what you need to serve Him to the best of your ability.

Arend and Willa Dale