I could say it was a job opportunity that brought us to Washington. I could say that the promise of job—my husband was one of two final candidates-- combined with an offer on our house, led us here to Bainbridge Island. I could say that and I wouldn’t be wrong. I would, however, be incomplete. It’s the intuitive, spiritual, intangible leading and nudging that was a big part of our decision. A decision to “follow the energy” or “take a leap of faith”—add your own cliché here.
My husband and I left our lifelong home state, family and friends in response to the sort of thing I considered woo-woo or flakey in my youth and young adulthood when the physical and economic worlds were the only realms I was comfortable operating in. If I couldn’t see it, taste it, or spend it, it didn’t exist.
Yesterday I wrote about the blessings of a single day on this island, confirmation that our move was a right (if not the right) choice for this phase of our journey. Which is why today, when my husband said Microsoft did not extend him a job offer, I wasn’t disappointed. I was surprised, because I thought he was clearly the right candidate (I’ll confess to some bias). I was even a bit relieved, the commute, though mostly on public transit—bus, ferry, bus as contrasted to his years of solo commuting in California––would’ve been long, more than an hour each way. I was hoping to give him the gift of more time at home and less in the car but just didn’t want to live in the cities closer to the campus. Kevin didn’t mind. He likes coming home to a beautiful place and commuting has never been an issue for him. Heavy traffic doesn’t frazzle him, and he uses the time to decompress, review the day, and plan for the next.
I was unpacking our office when Kevin gave me the news over the phone. I shrugged, thought their loss, and said, “Well, I guess you’re not supposed to work there.” “Yeah, I guess not,” he answered and then said he had an informational phone interview in half an hour with a company in Seattle that had found his resume on LinkedIn. Opportunities are coming to him, and so I’m not worried, not one little speck, about his employment future. Which is so unlike the old me I looked in the mirror later, just to check that I am in fact, still me.
There’s a fabulous video I first saw during my lay minister training with National Geographic photographer, Dewitt Jones (who looks like he could be Tommy Lee Jones’ brother), titled Everyday Creativity (It’s astronomically expensive, so borrow it from someone, like your UMC Conference, if you can). Jones in shooting photos, talks about getting “the next right answer,” opening the possibility of multiple yeses in all our decisions.
Over the years I have morphed Jones’ “next right answer” into the “next right thing” as I discerned steps in my journey as they impacted me, my husband, our family, and those we’re connected to. More often than not, I chose between options I had selected myself. In this past year however, I’ve been practicing “not knowing” with mixed results. I tried to make a move to particular house in Pacifica, and the owners wouldn’t cooperate with my intentions. So here we are in Bainbridge Island and every day seems like a gift, something I didn’t even orchestrate and chose but was given to me. And now my husband and I have the opportunity to practice not knowing about his employment a bit longer. While we wait, we have plenty of home improvements, some necessary, some optional, to keep both of us occupied.
Late this afternoon, after the call with my husband, I prayed with my prayer partner over the phone. We always pray for our children, and today she gave thanks for the openness and opportunities to share our wisdom with them. I had to laugh, because it’s so unlikely, but also true. We are wise. Not in every way, not in many ways, but in some very important and essential aspects of life, we have become wise. We’ve been working at it for years, together and individually, through prayer and self-examination, and the fruits are here in this phase of life.
I don’t know what the next right thing is going to be, but I wait and practice gratitude. I am thankful beyond measure to be co-creating with God and my husband as a dream and vision for our future gestates, rejoicing that my ancient fears have been conquered, replaced with faith and confidence, excited and anticipating the hatching.