A Year Ago Yesterday... | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Year Ago Yesterday...

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!

27 comments :

  1. Our thoughts seem to be on the same plane today.

    I'm glad you are happy. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  2. The expression "happy wife means happy life" is not quite right. But it is hard to get husband to rhyme with anything.

    You captured that limbo period well. When my husband was interviewing back in '94 he got a job offer at a university 45 minutes from my family back east, and one here at BYU, our Alma Mater. It was a tough one, but in the end it came down to feelings almost more than money. We will never be rich either, but the lifestyle is so good.

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  3. Very nice story and glad things have worked out well.

    I never heard that expression that Kazzy used (but I like it!). "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" doesn't really rhyme either, so that's okay. So same idea for husbands I guess.

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  4. I can't believe a whole year has passed already since you moved. I'm glad everyone is settling in and it was the right move for you. Those big decisions are SCARY!

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  5. Transition is hard. Job hunting is scary. But then, when you find what fits, it's so worth it! I'm happy for you guys. ;)

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  6. Wow, Lara. Your blog is very relevant to me today. I have a job I love, but just heard about another one. I may not love it so much but it might be better for my family. Or not. Or maybe. Lots to think about.

    I feel exactly about NYC the way you feel about Cedar City!

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  7. You sound happy and the picture of you two (prior post) looks happy!

    I like when things feel settled.

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  8. I, for one, am very happy that you were called to Michigan. Congratulations on your one year anniversary of that day, and may the future hold much happiness for you.

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  9. Well, I am glad that Cedar City itself was good to you. Limbo is hard, a very difficult place to be. And it can affect everyone in the family. We sure did enjoy seeing your faces when you were here for a visit, and miss you in general around here. But it is so wonderful to hear how things are in Michigan for you, that you've come 'home', that Joel loves his work, that you've got such good neighbors. There really is a plan for each of us. I think you are probably right that how upset you got over those other jobs was the Spirit. Stupor of thought and feeling is incredibly depressing, easy to intrepret as anger! Keep loving Michigan, and please keep sharing with us. It's really uplifting for me

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  10. Thank you for the congrats and the shout out Lara :) You are just too sweet!! We are soo happy you guys are happy in Michigan...even though we really miss you all clear over here. It's neat to read the story of how you ended up there though...you were definitely guided! Happy Michigan anniversary to you! Love you guys!

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  11. I'm so happy that you guys have a good situation there; I'm so glad there is a higher power who knows what we need most.

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  12. What an incredible journey. I'm so glad that you're happy, that your husband is happy and that this is where you have found joy. That is a truly great blessing.

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  13. Thank God for answered prayers.

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  14. Happy Anniversary! I am so glad that you are happy and feel like you are where you are supposed to be. I am also really glad I got the chance to meet you during the short time you and I were both living in Cedar City.

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  15. I remember when all of this was going down. I'm glad you are really happy where you are!

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  16. OH yeah, I remember that phone call as we were walking away from the all beautiful wedding ceremony at the Mesa Temple!! Life is so full of surprises! We are so glad you are happy, that's the important thing. But dang, you are hard to get to. But oh well, I do love to travel!! I miss you all!

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  17. We are at the stage of wanting to move on, but not being ready yet. I hope it works out for us as well as it has for you guys.

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  18. Moving away from family is one of the hardest decisions, I too get "Angry" when I Think about wrong choices. I think the force is just strong with us. ;)

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  19. I really REALLY need to remember the sense of peace right now. Because he clock is ticking and I'm starting to panic. Maybe that's part of this test for us.

    So glad you're enjoying Michigan.

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  20. Happy, indeed!

    I can't believe it's been a year. I remember when you were going through all that ...

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  21. What a hard time for you! Job searching is the worst, and waiting for that inspiration is so hard! I am glad everything worked out for you, and you have a great perspective.

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  22. Wow! Sounds like we are having very similar experiences, only a year difference. I might just e-mail you so I can get some encouragement. :o)

    So glad that your family is happy.

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  23. Well that is something I needed (really needed) to read - thank you for sharing all of that. We have had many heart aches and struggles with my husband's career (and blessings too). Thank you and it really does work out in the end!

    Happy 1 year!

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  24. HOORAY! I'm so glad you guys happy. I'm happy for you. It's funny how things always work out. We talked about that in Sunday School last week -- even when it's a bad situation if you stay positive good things happen.

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  25. It takes a lot of strength not only to recognize that an opportunity is the right thing, but also to take that leap of faith and act on it. Happy one-year anniversary, and here's to many more happy years!

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  26. Oh, my gosh, I am so glad to have found your blog. This post is exactly what I needed today. I am also a musician-now-mother, married to a musician, and LDS. I didn't know there were any others out there!! :) My husband has a doctorate in violin performance and we have been looking for an academic job for years, literally. Thankfully he is full-time with a symphony right now, but the schedule stinks for our family. And it really doesn't pay QUITE enough (I promise I am not being picky--I'm sure you understand). Anyway, it has been so discouraging with applying for years and taking other auditions and nothing happening, and reading this post today just made me feel not so alone and hopeless about the whole thing. I'm sitting here crying, for crying out loud. :) I am so grateful to have found you, and grateful to you for writing what you have. I will be back many times.

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