"Life's journey is not traveled on a freeway devoid of obstacles, pitfalls, and snares. Rather, it is a pathway marked by forks and turnings. Decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed: the courage to say "No," the courage to say "Yes." Decisions do determine our destiny.
The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. It has ever been so, and so it shall be."
-Thomas S. Monson
The minute Tom read me the email that BYU was wondering if he was still available to be a visiting professor I knew he would get an offer. I knew it even though in the very beginning he was in second place for the position. Moving to Utah was not in my plan or my hope, and so I held on that he would find a job in Eugene. It is was what both of us wanted more than anything.
Tom noticed online that there was a job opening at BYU for a full-time math professor. Back in the day it had been Tom's dream to teach at BYU. To follow in his father's footsteps, but the thought of working with those who taught him daunted him, and he decided that isn't what he wanted after all. Plus while going to school and teaching at the University of Oregon he discovered that his heart was in teaching. Not in research. For those of you that don't know to teach at a research university in math you need a post-doctorate. It is kind of like a residency. A couple of years to give you more experience and to really focus on research with the hopes that you will get a few papers published. BYU requires a post doctorate which Tom does not have. So when Tom told me he applied for the job I just shrugged my shoulders. We both knew there was no chance that they would even consider him for the position. Little did I know what Heavenly Father had in store for us.
Heavenly Father made it crystal clear where our lives needed to head next. Just as he did when it came time for us to leave Provo and head to Eugene where Tom would work on getting his Ph.D. I believed that the University of Oregon was more like a pit stop along our path to where we were ultimately headed. I had come to accept that we would be returning to Utah where we would most likely live for the majority of our lives. The price I would pay for marrying someone from Provo. But throughout the six years that we lived in Eugene (we didn't realize the program was six years) we both came to love it and it became home for the both of us.
I sometimes wake up and wonder how did I get here. Especially considering my physical health, mental health and emotional health. I can't believe that Heavenly Father would ask me to leave my psych nurse, therapist and nurse practitioner. Sure I can find all three here in Utah, but two of them I met with for nearly two years. But Heavenly Father gave the call and somehow I drudged up the courage to say "Yes." I know without a shadow of doubt that Tom and I are supposed to be here in Utah, in this exact apartment and in our exact ward. Just like I knew when we moved to Eugene.
But for me, saying "Yes" was the easy part. The actual packing up and driving out here seemed unreal. It really felt like we were just going on vacation for a week as we stayed at Tom's parent's house until we could move into our townhouse. We have been truly blessed by family and friends who helped us get here at every stage of our move.
We have almost been in our townhouse for a month. Much time has been spent on figuring out where to put furniture, buying some "new" furniture, unpacking, rearranging and even more shopping. More than enough to keep us busy but overall it has been a very difficult month for me. Tom has often heard me say, "I want to go home." He always asks in return, "Eugene or Heaven?" The answer varies depending on how I'm doing emotionally.
It is hard because there are so many people we want to reconnect with here. We have family from all four sides, Tom's full immediate family, my sister and brother, and countless friends. But I am physically spent and feel like hibernating. There is still so much to do to make our townhouse feel like home. I even have on the wall "Love the heart of this home." Every time I pass it on the stairs I think to myself, "That is a lie." I feel that all the faith that I have built up over the past two years is leaking through a sieve.
"Brothers and sisters, this is a divine work in process, with further manifestations and blessings of it abounding in every direction, so please don't hyperventilate if from time to time issues arise that need to be examined, understood, and resolved. They do and they will. In this Church, what we know will always trump what we do not know. And remember, in this world, everyone is to walk by faith."
-Elder Jeffery R. Holland
I do know that we are where we are supposed to be. What is supposed to happen over the next two years as we are traveling this new path I do not know. This quote reminds me that I need to focus on what I do know and continue to have faith in Heavenly Father's plan for us here in Utah. And there are days where I am back to where courage is choosing to breathe. And I'm sure I will experience many more days like that. Many times these words come to mind as I struggle through the everyday.
"In that imaginary instant, I couldn't help calling out to him: "Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead." Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come."
-Elder Jeffery R. Holland
And so I continue to trudge onward. Organizing, unpacking, painting and doing a little decorating with the knowledge that in time this will feel like home. "If we now shun the fight? Gird up your loins; fresh courage take. Our God will never us forsake. And soon we'll have this tale to tell. All is well! All is well!"