We’ve been going through the gyrations associated with the incomprehensible system that determines when and where I move. First, they tell you you are hot to move, then tease you with a list of possible assignments, only to withdraw that list a few days later and replace it with one that is dense with substantially worse options. A few days after that, they tell you that there aren’t enough people to fill all the positions, and that the positions that must be filled are all the sorts of jobs that make my skin crawl. Once this drill is complete, they tell you to volunteer for the jobs you want, and make you sit and wait for several weeks while they decide how to best ignore your preferences.
At this point, I’m in the middle of that process. I’ve told them what I would like best (or hate the least given the list of crappy possibilities), and am waiting in limbo to figure out the future. I always find this part of the process stressful and somewhat depressing, but if that were all that was on my mind at the moment, I’d be in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, there are several complicating factors that are making me rather miserable at the moment. First there is the prospect of moving in the first place…
When we moved to San Antonio, we contemplated buying a house to live in just for the time we were going to be here. We had no plans to build a home, little-lone a small homestead that requires long-term investments to succeed. However, for a variety of reasons that plan to buy a house in town didn’t pan out and we ended up renting. However, over the course of several months we began to feel promptings to do what we did (start the homestead). We moved down that path, constantly waiting for the course correction that has historically happened any time we wanted to do something that the Lord didn’t have in store for us, and we were frankly shocked when we made it to closing without feeling uncomfortable about it or having some last-minute roadblock pop-up.
We felt good about building this place and investing in the equipment, time, and energy required to make it work. We had hoped this would mean we would be able to find a way to stay – to “roll over” from one assignment here to another in the local area and make it to retirement eligibility without having to uproot our family. Staying here was, and still is, the only foreseeable route to avoid major financial setbacks resulting from the commitments we have made. We hoped and prayed (and frankly expected) the Lord would open a path so that could happen.
In addition to the financial burden that will come with uprooting our family, there are strong emotional tolls that are being levied. Sydney, now a fully-fledged teenager, has formed deep attachments here, and completely broke down when we told her there were no assignment possibilities that could result in us staying here. You could watch as she did the mental math to figure out that she’d be out of the house by the time we could move back, and probably wouldn’t be coming with us. She’s been a wreck for several weeks now, disintegrating into a heap of immobile tears at the slightest provocation. Liz is at her wits end, and I’ve never dealt well with that kind of maudlin drama.
One of the concerns with moving is that there doesn’t appear to be any options where we can maintain our semi-rural lifestyle and keep our small collection of livestock. Aside from the livestock, moving with two relatively large dogs is also frequently a problem as there are few rentals that will allow much more than a cat or a small dog. Those animals, the livestock and dogs, are a big part of my sanity program. I depend on them for a few minutes of quiet and solace every day. Liz depends on the milk and eggs as part of her health program. Isaac is particularly attached to the dogs. It will be difficult to find a way to maintain even a portion of that if we are forced to move.
Riding over the top of all of that are a few other concerns that have surfaced that I’ll not include here other than to note that I’ve been under incredible strain lately that I am finding difficult to cope with.
To add icing to the cake, there is the possibility that we stay here. It may seem odd, given what I’ve written above, that I would include this as a bad outcome or contributor to my stress level. However, the reality of the situation dictates otherwise. There are only a few scenarios where we get to stay here, and they all involve tragedy in essence. Because there are no openings for me to transition into and because I MUST vacate my current position in May, the only way I can stay here is if something happens that requires long-term specialized medical care like if Liz were to have another flare-up of whatever tried to kill her two years ago. As much as I want to stay here, I would rather move to Pakistan than live through that scenario again. There is a part of me that almost expects something like this to happen given the very clear promptings that led us to make the commitments we have made. It haunts my nights and robs my sleep. Never in my life have I been this fearful of the future.
Oh… and in case that weren’t enough to make my days hard… my favorite dog was run over and killed last night. Liz found her while taking Sydney to early-morning seminary class. I had to go scrape the dog off the side of the road before Liz took the rest of the kids to their Friday commonwealth school so Isaac wouldn’t find out. If he found out, he’d not be able to function through the day. She was his favorite too. He spent all morning calling to her hoping she’d come home to eat breakfast. Little did he know she was in the back of the truck. It made me sad to listen to him calling her name all the way up until he closed the gate and climbed into the car to head to commonwealth. I’m home right now writing this because I had to call in late to work so I could wait until after they left to bury her. Later today I have to tell him, but for now I have to go dig a hole… Goodbye Gertrude.