While our lives have taken a different direction this does not mean that we are lost in what to do. We are actually somewhat excited, a whole new world has opened up to us. For Rob it was never that he felt like a failure if he did not carry on, he knew, and had been warned going in that if at any time the work seemed to much to never be afraid to stop. The struggle to make the decision came more from the concern of whether we were doing the right thing or would he be giving up too easily? was the Lord telling us something through the various events that led us to this? when one reaches a mountain does one right away give up and turn a different direction or does one find a way to climb that mountain?
Sometimes I joke that the reason we had to go through this was to train me to accept Rob for who he is. Each school year had it’s stressful times and almost all school years Rob talked about quitting (except for Year 2 at the College) when it came to crunch time saying he wasn’t cut out for this. And each school year I stood by him and said I supported him in whatever decision he made, except if he quit school he could not going trucking. This usually sent him back to his desk with a new determination to stick to what he was suppose to be doing since his other love was not an option.
Rob is a licensed mechanic turned pig farmer. When he decided to go to school he needed a job to support us for the first part of his schooling while he was part-time. This job ended up being trucking (he had acquired his AZ license when he was a mechanic), more specifically wide-load trucking. He often said over the past few years that of all the jobs he’s done he loved trucking the most. The diesel is in his blood and each summer he looked forward to getting back in the truck to relax and refresh himself, ready to tackle another school year. While one can love certain things in life, one also has to determine if these are proper things to love or be involved in. In the case of trucking it usually meant that Rob would leave in the wee hours of the morning and come home after dark when the kids were in bed. This would results in long periods of time where he seen little or nothing of the kids (although now that they are getting older this is getting slightly better). This was okay during the summer when we were trying our best to bring in as much income as possible during a short period of time and where we knew that he would return to being with us for breakfast and supper again in a few months … but this job is not ideal or in my opinion (I know some will argue with me) right for a family man. God teaches us that the man is the head of the household and this is awfully hard to accomplish when the man of the household is never home. Rob has always agreed with me on this aspect but this does not mean that the pull to go trucking is not there.
What to do with his life if school ended did play a short term factor in the decision making process. Rob looked at various ways he could use the training he had to benefit others (e.g. Christian counsellor, teaching) and at various jobs that would allow him to apply his diverse abilities while still being home and involved in church. In the end the decision came to return to his favourite job at this time. Will this be long-term?? We have no idea. What we do know is that in making this decision we came to realize that the last few years had taught us something about the value of money and family time. Sure more hours means more money, but it means less family time. God has given us our children and we promised at our baptism to raise them to fear the Lord to the best of our ability … if we are not there are we raising them? are we raising them to the best of our ability? Raising our children does not mean providing them with every want, but providing them with the basics of life and nurturing them in the Word of God so they can grow to serve Him. I hope that we can keep this focus as Rob returns to work … with a few restrictions on his working hours.
Rob will be returning to his part-time summer job in a full-time capacity, working for Ike and Heather who run a trucking business that moves modular office buildings. His work will involve a little of this and that - shop time, manufacturing/engineering time (see here for a bit more on that end), truck time, PR time and likely some office time too. When he is in the truck we cannot apply those restrictions on his working hours, but he is geared towards only being in the truck from time to time, with his main work being closer to home in the shop. This is where he has to learn to set his limits, being home for supper and the evening for family time and other evening events/meetings and if the extra hours are needed then he will have to rise early and put those hours in during the morning hours when the family doesn’t notice the difference … and when he has to truly evaluate if the work is so necessary to be done immediately that he has to get out of his cozy bed earlier (let’s just say that Rob is NOT a morning person). Rob is determined to work hard on learning this and as family we hope that we can help him to stick to this so that I’m not always saying “you know how much I hate your job”. I love that he loves his job and that he loves to go to work, but I hate it when it takes him away from the kids so much. But yet through these past years, especially these past months I had to come to realize that this is where Rob excels and together we have to work out how he can best go about doing what he loves and still be home enough to function within the church and his family. This is a challenge that I am sure many families deal with.
For the time being we are looking forward to the idea of having a husband and father who is actually here when he is here. Who is here for more then meal times. Who is here in mind and body when he’s home (hopefully). Who has time to do stuff with the kids after supper or on Saturdays. Who is able to take care of the kids when I have a meeting at night. Who will be able to attend church and school events/meeting again. Who will be more physically involved in our lives and church life. Who will have a social life on days other then Sunday. Who does not have to stay up until late at night (or early into the morning) working at his desk six days of the week. Who actually has statutory holidays (we just enjoyed one, it was so nice that he didn’t have to study). Who can actually go away on weekends. We are really looking forward to these changes and the others that come with likely staying in one location long enough to actually think about some day owning a home and putting time and effort into that home. Let’s be honest … who really looks forward to living in a glass house? I am not the least bit upset about the idea of leaving that prospect behind.
All in all we look forward to the coming change and the adjustments that will come with it. Realistically I don’t think it will truly set in until September when Rob does not return to school and when we slowly begin to distance ourselves from the going-ons of the seminary life.