On a Friday a month or so ago, Sam and I were driving to the art museum in Worcester. It was sunny and glorious outside, and we were talking, again, about Sam's dread for the coming school year. He's been on paternity leave, as I've mentioned, but he's dreaded the end of that leave every single day, and we've discussed his dread most days. The job is a bad fit for a number of reasons, few of which I'm interested in going into here. We thought that a move closer to the school would help (his commute was horrendous previously), but it hasn't, so as we talked, driving along, I said what I had started to say when this subject came up, "Don't go back then. We'll figure something out. Don't go back."
Prior to that Friday, this would lead to some circling around the possibilities, and end with one of us saying, "No, it'll never work. We can't do it. We'll stay one more year and see how it goes. It's bound to get better." But for some reason, this time, we said, okay, yeah, let's not go back; we'll figure it out. Sam took one hand off the wheel and said, "Shake on it? We're really leaving?" And I took his hand and said, sure, yeah, let's go.
And then I panicked. Very quietly, silently even. In the passenger seat. What about, um, employment, and health insurance, and how would we have enough money for a cross-country move? You know, the little things.
Sam didn't panic. He immediately started bidding farewell to the area. "This might be the last time we ever go to this museum. And I'm okay with that," he said. "Look, see that intersection? No more of that," he said. "We're getting out of here. We're getting out of here," he nearly chanted. I could see the dread lift from him. It was like he became a different person, a person I hadn't seen in awhile.
Which means I wasn't willing to say, "Well, maybe I shouldn't have shook on it?"
That night, after we'd talked it over more, I asked if we could pray about it together. I was still willing to say we'd move, but inside I wasn't so sure. I generally ask God what He thinks of our plans, at least our big ones, and I had yet to talk it over with Him. Sam said he was willing to listen while I prayed aloud, but he had already made his decision; he wasn't sure what we needed to consult God about.
We sat on our couch and I bowed my head and he crossed himself and I started praying. I'm not sure what I expected. Not much, honestly. Usually answers like these take me some time, and the most I get from a single prayer is some clarity of thought, which is needed, but generally it's just a piece of the puzzle.
This time, almost as soon as I started praying, I got the whole puzzle. Or enough of it to completely change my tune. I don't think I have ever gotten such a quick and powerful and clear answer to prayer. And now that I write this out, I'm realizing God answered me by showing me how much I love Sam, by opening up an understanding of how miserable he had been and how miserable he stood to be if we stayed, and urging me to throw everything I had into this change, into this move. To get started immediately; that we couldn't leave soon enough. It was time to go.
I've been on board ever since, and it's been incredible to see what has opened up in the wake of our decision. We decided we'd head for Tucson, since Sam has family there who can help us land on our feet, and we won't be far from my family either. We'll be cobbling an income together with freelance and something like adjunct teaching, which is a bit scary, but hopefully doable. Sam's brother happened to see an ad in the paper a few weeks ago, asking for creative writing teachers for a new community outreach program at the local university. We sent in course proposals, and it looks like we'll both have an opportunity to teach through that program, and we are so excited about it. We'll be teaching what we love, to people who really want to learn it, in a completely low-pressure situation. When I think about that, I am a bit giddy. I really miss teaching.
I could go on about why and how this is the right move, and why I'm sure of it, even if I'm worried about the details sometimes. I probably will go on and on, but for now, I think it's enough to announce the plan. We're heading West, to write, more than anything. We want a life with more flexibility, more ability to raise our daughter together, more people around to love her and squeeze her and witness her magnificence. I have loved this area, and I will miss the people here that I love, but I am ready for big big skies and mild winters (!). I'm a California girl at heart. This move will get me closer.
I keep thinking about something a friend wrote in a card she gave us when we married. She said that when you find someone you love, you jump off a cliff together, and this seems true to me. Every couple jumps into their new life together, hoping it will work and making their plans. And sometimes, when you thought you were settled, you find you have to start over again, to jump again. Last Friday I sat in the car with the baby, waiting for Sam to quit his job, and I went back and forth between thinking we must be crazy and remembering a multitude of conversations with Sam over a multitude of meals, and thinking, "Of course he's quitting; of course we're leaving; of course of course. We were always meant to leave now. Everything has pointed to this all along. It's time."