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Dear Uncle Kermit

Rachel,

Ok, I realize that you are my niece and that that skews my judgment or could skew my judgment, probably does…a little. But, no, I’m ruthless about boring lines that I read.  Yours aren’t. Ever. Always so fresh and real and natural.  I can’t get enough of your twitters. Please don’t become self-conscious and spoil it all.  Just, be yourself, again.

Uncle Kermit

Oh, yes, and, I do love you and Jude and your man.

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Dear Uncle K,

I got your email tonight, and I am surprised at  the … emotion(?) it drummed up in me. I think you hit the nail on the head for me without even knowing it. Did you know I’ve been avoiding the proverbial elephant in the room for almost two weeks now? Getting your email, I realized that I finally was ready to talk about it in blogland.

I’d like to think of myself as a fairly transparent person. In the past few years, this hasn’t been entirely true. I learned, to my detriment, to hide things, but with fairly undesirable results. Transparency just works better for me. I need to talk about things, I need to connect, I need to just let it all out and say it like it is. I talked with Simon tonight about blogging about it here, and he gave an unrestricted, quickly-uttered “yes.” And I am so glad! So let the elephant in my room be released. I’ve been talking too much about fluff lately on here anyway and it’s time to say what’s really on my mind.

Just over a year ago, things began to go downhill for Simon at work. Drastically. Since college, he has worked for a small family business, a family we’ve known since both of our respective childhoods. Upon graduation from college, he accepted a fulltime position and was quick to do very well for himself and for the company. Simon is the most loyal person I know. He is focused, disciplined. A perfectionist, nearly. And like most men, he wants to fix things. But when things went south at work, a place that he loved to be, everything changed. It was beyond his fixing and out of his control.

But it took nearly an entire year for everything to hit rock bottom. A gut-wrenching, stressful, marriage-counseling-inducing crazy year. Simon’s boss was in a terrible car wreck last July; the passenger in his car was killed, a dear family friend of theirs. It was like the final nail into a coffin: on top of a recession and other financial woes the company was enduring, it was like that one singular event sent everything else into a crazy tailspin that was seemingly impossible to come out of.

I’ve been praying for a solid year that things were going to improve or that God would give us a new direction to head in. And last week, He did. I knew that Simon was going to leave his job. I knew it for a few days before it all actually went down, and I supported him 110%. I’ve seen him more burdened than I have ever seen him in all the years I’ve known him. I’ve cried my share of tears over the stress he has been under because he has not been the same for the past year. It was a decision that needed to be made, and he did it. He went in to talk with his boss and gave his resignation, packed up his stuff, and he left. I am enormously proud of him for taking this huge leap of faith. And it is a leap. We have no solid direction as of yet as to what we are to do next.

All this is not to say that I haven’t had my many moments of panic. My first thought was, “Oh my gosh, we’re going to lose our house.” I think this was the only way I could really manifest what I was feeling about being out of a job. Let me clarify, under no circumstances are we losing our house. Our situation is not dire in that sense. We are fine. But somehow it was like that was all I could fixate on – the house. As if it were my symbol of security. My beloved house. Isn’t that silly? It’s just a house – it doesn’t love us back or save us from our sins. It’s not a loved one being eaten alive by cancer or some dreadful disease. My sweet little boy is not gone. My husband is still here with me. My world is not shattered. But somehow I couldn’t get beyond that.

On Friday, his first full day of being unemployed, I had a full-on panic attack. I had had lunch with a dear girlfriend. She asked where Jude was and I said, “At home, with Simon.” She got a look on her face, like, what is Simon doing home on a work day? And then I had to say it out loud. “He quit his job.” Whew! Hello, reality! I just said it out loud to somebody other than myself! I nearly fell out of my own chair. After lunch, I got in the car and practically hyperventilated. I got home and freaked out on Simon. I freaked out on Jude. I freaked out on myself and popped a Xanax and called my Dad while I was in the car.

“I’m panicking. I’m panicking big time. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO NOW?!”

“Darlin,” Dad said, “why are you panicking now?”

“I…. I…. just don’t know what to think?!” I puffed into the phone. “What about our house?!?”

“Darlin, you knew that this was the best thing for him. He was being eaten alive inside. He had to leave. You’re going to be fine. He is going to be fine. God has a plan.”  (I love you, Dad. You are so wise.)

I guess this is the part where I guess we get to find out how much faith we really have. This past year in BSF, we studied about the life of Moses. Over and over again, the Israelites griped, complained, moaned, and whined about how awful their lives were in the wilderness as they made their way to the promised land. They had witnessed quite possibly the greatest miracles the world has ever seen before or since then, and yet they still didn’t trust that God had their best interest – and his ultimate glory – at heart. They were led out of slavery, oppression, and bondage, and yet they still wanted to go back to Egypt when the going got tough. Our discussion leader at BSF pointedly asked us a question: are we going to repeatedly freak out over our life’s circumstance(s) every time something seems to happen? Or are we going to enjoy a front-row seat to what God is going to do in our lives, for His glory?

Enjoy. Now there’s a powerful word. Relish. Appreciate. Savor. I can think of a bunch of other synonyms. Am I going to savor this time in our lives that God has brought us to so I can watch how much He loves us? And so I can fully contemplate that He knows the plans that He has for us, plans for good and not for evil – to give us a hope and a future? He promised this to us and I know He will provide. He keeps his promises – plain and simple.

So now we begin a new chapter. I jokingly tease Simon about how this is now our opportunity to backpack with Jude through Europe (doesn’t that just sound so great? I mean, who hasn’t wanted to do hostels with a toddler?) — I’ll blog about it, and somebody will pay me big bucks to publish my story! Genius! Or maybe we’ll open a 7-Eleven; I’ll work the thing, serving up Icees, and Simon can stay home with Jude. All the Icees we could drink. Perfection.

But in all seriousness, I am excited for him. We went away to Dallas that first weekend, just to get away and decompress, alone. On Saturday, I looked at him and asked how he was feeling. He smiled. “I feel good. I feel relieved. I feel like a burden has been lifted off of me and I can breathe.” I started to well up with tears – I feel like for the first time in over a year, I have my husband back. Sure, it hasn’t been the easiest few days; there will be ups and downs, but I feel anticipation like I haven’t felt in some time. I know that God has not left us and He will not let us down now.

So there you go. In a nutshell – quit the job, went out of town, refound ourselves, and now we’re contemplating what’s next. You had no idea that your sweet email would unload all of that, did you? 🙂

I love you, Uncle Kermit. You’re my favorite uncle; you always have been. Aunt Cheryl is another mother to me, and we love you so so much. I wish we were all there together in France, sitting out in your backyard, enjoying fruit and bread and yummy French cheese. I wish you were here to hoppity hop with Jude; you would not believe how utterly big and busy our little 21-month-old Red is.

Ok. It’s getting late, so I’m closing down this blog. Sorry it’s so long.

xoxoxo,

R

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