Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Faith Walk: Chapter 9

Here endth the journal entries. The rest of the story is composed from recollection.

Monday & Tuesday, May 31 & June 1, 2004
There were copious hugs and kisses upon my return home from Gethsemani on Sunday afternoon. I could not immediately share with Anita all the emotions and meditations I had been through at Gethsemani. First, it was just too much to convey in one burst. Secondly, I did not want to tell her my inclinations on the job until I had heard her thoughts without any influence from me. However, I am sure she sensed the peace I carried with me from Gethsemani.

We launched our trip to Destin early Monday morning. I do not remember exactly how much we discussed about the job and about my weekend on Sunday evening while packing and how much was discussed on the drive down I-65 south. Given the fact we had an excited 3 year old with us who is very energetic and imaginative and going to the beach for the first time, I am sure we did most of our talking on Sunday evening. Cohesive conversation in the car would not have been a reality. That was fine. It was family time. They had sacrificed my time and attention enough over the last month.

What I do know was that Anita felt that Ingram was the better choice. She knew my personality and could foresee the stresses that would naturally arise from the EASI position. It was a step up in my engineering career and EASI needed much done in a short time. There would be no easing into that position. I would have to hit the ground running and go full bore not that either of us were afraid of this. It was just a fact. We both knew I would be traveling a good bit up front, and that it would level out at about 25% of my time. In addition, I had the longer commute through major construction on I-65 northbound. She was also factoring an eventual move to the Hendersonville so that we could maximize our family life.

This thought had major ramifications. In early May, Anita and I completed our third year of hosting and leading a college life group as part of our church’s college ministry. We were very close to the young men and women in our group. They were now part of our family. In fact, the whole uncertainty of my situation as school ended in late May 2004 was very hard on the group. We had spent much of our prayer time on my family’s situation. We had our last meeting of the year and said our goodbyes; we all thought that it was likely the final night. We parted with tears and hugs. They were not goodbyes for the summer infused with the knowledge of the fall return. They were the goodbyes of relationships that would take on new forms from distances. We really believed we would likely be in St. Louis at that point.

Now we realized that this job could affect the joy we felt in being able to continue life group. Even if we did not move right away, it would be difficult to continue the life group in the same manner with the time and travel constraints the job was likely to impose. In addition, we were very active at our church in other ways now with Maria involved in the children’s ministry. All of her friends and social activity was through church. Anita was involved in many activities at church and with other mothers there during the week. We loved our church and it would be very difficult to leave. Even if we remained at our church after a move, it would be impossible to maintain the same level of involvement with a 45-minute or better one-way commute. One family we were friends with had already left just for this reason. They lived in Hendersonville and the commute was too much, despite their love for our church, so they ended up leaving for a church closer to home.

Anyway, I shared with Anita my thoughts and understandings from the weekend. When I had been walking in the woods that Saturday morning, I had been continually moving toward the EASI job offer as the right choice. Then the diversion of path in the woods occurred (reference Chapter 8). Afterward, I re-evaluated my feelings focusing on the wisdom Charlie provided in our Friday phone conversation and reflecting on what God might have been showing me during that walk. By the end of the weekend, I had determined Ingram was the best choice—the choice God was impressing on my heart. We had one problem however. No matter how we sliced it, we could not meet our budget with the initial Ingram offer without selling our home and moving to something cheaper.

Sometime during the drive down to Destin, I talked with Kaj at Ingram. He said he would be faxing an updated offer to my condominium. He told me verbally that he was able to up the offer. The new offer was the exact amount we needed to make ends meet in our budget. When we arrived in Destin we stopped to eat, checked in at the condominium, and I picked up my fax. Anita took Maria to the beach. Maria did not have time to wait around for such inconsequential matters as money and career decisions. There was a beach calling her name! Children are awesome in helping adults keep their priorities in order. I do remember Anita and I praying for final direction and offering thanks.

I stayed in the room for a while with my laptop making sure I had not missed anything in our financial analysis. With a final word of prayer, I called Kaj and verbally accepted his offer. I then signed the faxed forms and had the condominium office fax my acceptance to Ingram. The only down side was having to phone EASI and tell them I was not taking their offer. When I called, Paul immediately offered me more money. I gratefully thanked him, but told him this was not a money issue and that the offer I had accepted was lower than EASI’s initial offer. He thanked me for my professionalism throughout the interview process and wished me the best. I felt bad for EASI because they needed help and I knew I had the enthusiasm they wanted. Yet, Ingram was the choice to which God had led my family and me.

The rest of the week was one of the most enjoyable, relaxing times I have ever had. I relaxed in the light of Anita and Maria’s enjoyment and with the peace of a journey completed. I also felt energized with the excitement of a new journey beginning.

Author's note: I will conclude this series with an epilogue that should tie up some loose ends and provide a status of how things worked out. Thanks for reading.



JMG said...

It's amazing how that feeling of peace confirms a well made decision.

I've enjoyed reading!

Malia said...

I've really enjoyed this series Tony. It inspired my travelogue/journal of the Chicago trip DB and I took to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Not that it's anything like your wonderful writing and spiritual insights! Thanks for sharing a significant part of your life with us in blogland. Your trust in the Lord gives me hope and helps me remember to have that trust in my own life.

erinlo said...

I love how you and your family seek God's guidance in every aspect of your life. This has been a great story and I have enjoyed it immensely. It makes me wish I knew you and Anita personally- I think our families would get along quite well.

Tony Arnold said...

Maybe we can meet sometime, you never know. If you ever in the Nashville area, you must look us up. Thank you so much for the kind comments.


Amanda said...

Thanks for sharing your story with us. I remember how sad I was when we heard the news that you guys may be moving to St. Louis. We were over-joyed when we heard that you would be staying in Nashville. Your family is a great asset to our church and to our community, and we consider ourselves lucky to know you.

jettybetty said...

I love how God confirmed your next steps! He is so good!


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