My brother and his wife got married (happy first anniversary, guys!) and Joel and I found out our lives would be drastically changing.
We had just finished taking all of the family photos outside the Mesa temple and were walking back to our hotel when Joel's phone rang. He took it out of his pocket and saw that "Mike" was calling. He assumed it was my dad, who was right behind us but quickly realized that it was the search committee chair for the job he had just interviewed for in Michigan the weekend before. We knew that another candidate had been there that day and had most likely just finished up his (or her) interviews, so this phone call was a little strange.
Well, Mike told Joel that the other candidate had indeed just left, the search committee had already convened and made the unanimous decision to hire Joel. We were absolutely floored and extremely excited, to say the least.
Joel graduated with his doctorate in orchestral conducting in 2006. In July, while I was hugely pregnant with Sophia, he received two job offers. One was for a small community college in Alabama, and the other was the high school/middle school orchestra job in Cedar City. I remember that every time I thought about moving to Alabama, or the job there, I would start to bawl uncontrollably. I mean, I was eight months pregnant and everything, but it was a pretty weird reaction. In the end, we chose Cedar City, and though it wasn't the best choice for us financially, it was the right one spiritually.
We always knew Cedar would be temporary. We really did like it there, but it just didn't feel like the place where we would set down our roots. Joel continued applying for University jobs for all the three years we were there. He'd get phone interviews, and an occasional trip to some University or the other for an interview, but nothing ever worked out, and he'd be back in Cedar City for another year, teaching high school and middle school.
It was frustrating, to say the least. I always feel a little bad when I write about how difficult the Cedar City years were for us, because it wasn't Cedar City itself that was hard. It was a lot of things about our situation while living there. It was a tough three years, and that's that.
In the summer of 2008, we had a couple of interesting experiences. First, Joel went to Spain for a conducting competition and came home to immediately interview at a University. There was a lot of craziness going on, and I was freaking out a lot, but we took the kids to the park and we lay down on the grass and just talked while the kids played around us. We both had an incredible sense of peace that all would work out just the way it was meant to in the end. We didn't know how it would happen, but it was certainly something to hold onto.
Then, when nothing actually panned out and school was just about to start again, Joel had a dream. (His dreams are so often revelatory, that we don't ignore them.) He dreamt that he was conducting the University orchestra where he had interviewed and he felt horrible and depressed. Then he was conducting his high school orchestra and the jazz band over at SUU and he felt wonderful and happy. He knew that it was the right thing to stay in Cedar City, but he also felt pretty strongly that it would be his last year.
And so it was. But even the phone call received on the temple grounds one year ago wasn't quite enough to seal the deal.
Because there was another university in play. The very day he called the department chair here in Michigan to accept the job, he was invited to interview at a university in Pennsylvania. He had to go and give himself a chance, because it might have been a better situation all around.
But I was completely angry. Every time he mentioned that cursed university's name I got inexplicably mad. In fact, I was mad at him for applying there in the first place, back before we ever knew he'd be offered an interview, much less a job, in Michigan. It just inspired anger in me for some reason. I think back to how I cried and cried about the job in Alabama, and I have to wonder if in both instances the Spirit was speaking to me about what was best for our family.
I agonized over that interview. Then I agonized over waiting to hear whether they would offer Joel the job. I even wrote about it once, without really writing about it.
In the end, our decision was made for us. They chose another candidate at that University, and we breathed a sigh of relief. Well, I did. Joel was in a different place during all of that than I was, and that's okay.
And now we're here. Our lives are drastically different, but in a wonderful way. I've come to the conclusion that we're never going to be rich, but I don't mind being poor when my husband is happy. (Okay, so I do mind a little, but really, it's probably way better than being rich with an unhappy husband.) We are happy here--happier than we've been in our nearly 11 years of marriage. And I have learned that everything really does work out in the end (not that it's the end, but you know).
So happy first anniversary to us!