Saturday, February 18, 2012

I Made It - and, of Course, the First Thing I Do Is Blog: Unexpected Blessings

I left NE Missouri Wednesday morning.  I arrived in Carson City, NV at 10:00AM Friday morning - a 2,034 mile drive in two days.  Surprisingly, I'm wide awake - and sitting in a library typing this post.  (Yeah, I know.  What's the first thing I do when I arrive in a new town?  BLOG!!  *grin*)  Due to the nature of this post, I'm dating it for tomorrow (Saturday) and writing it as my New Year's Resolution Post about accountability. 

I posted Thursday about enduring to the end - and about the blessing of being able to look back on one's life and reognize blessings in hindsight.  I mentioned that, sometimes, those blessings can be seen immediately, and I need to write about one such immediate recognition while it still is fresh. 

All other stresses aside, the most stress-inducing aspect of this move is financial - since the raise I am receiving might not offset the higher cost of living (primarily housing, but also the extra gas I will use commuting 50 miles round-trip per day - as opposed to 3 miles per day in my last job).  I am confident Mama will be able to earn more here than she has been able to make in Canton, and the lack of state tax in Nevada will help, but I still have been concerned - even as I know, without doubt, that we are supposed to be here in Carson City at this time. 

This week has brought something into stark focus, and there are three "coincidences" that combined to slap me upside the head and make me realize once again that we are loved and within the watchful care of a loving Father. 

1) Mama completed her certification process to become a Certified Medical Technician (CMT) last week.  Not only does it come with a small payraise, but it also puts her in a position of working one extra shift each week.  That will have its own issues, including sleep and the inability to teach Seminary as often as she could in the past, but it also will add roughly 50% to her pay checks.  It's not a lot, but it will help tremendously for the time while I am in Carson City and she and our family remain in Canton.  The timing literally couldn't have been better. 

She also received a strong letter of recommendation from the Asst Dir of Nursing where she works - and I took a copy of it with me to try to line up a job for her that will start immediately upon her arrival (or very quickly). 

How does this relate to accountability? 

She was chosen for the CMT training and received the letter of recommendation largely because of her dedication over the past two years.  She has not missed a day of work in that time, has filled in fairly often for others who have missed shifts and, in every measurable and intangible way, been a model employee.  In other words, she has been herself - and it has brought blessings of multiple sorts.  Most importantly for this post, her actions and attitude over the past two years created a situation where she could be blessed exactly in the way that our family needs the most right now. 

2) As I was preparing to travel cross-country to begin my new job, I did what I have done every time we have moved in the past (five times, with four of those being over 1,000 miles) - called the Bishop of the LDS ward (or another member, in one case) to which we were moving and informed him of our impending move.  In this case, as in one of the previous moves, we looked at the possible locations and prayed for inspiration as to which Bishop (of several) we should contact.  This is second-nature to us, so it doesn't stand out as anything "special" in any way - but, for the second time in such a situation, I can see very clearly the fact that inspiration indeed was given - that we were led to contact the right Bishop. 

How does this relate to accountability?

As I said, we didn't have to think about what to do (or whether or not to contact the Bishop).  It's a decision we made long ago, so it has become automatic for us.  As with Mama's attendance and work ethic, the result of that long-ago decision has been a blessing once again - but we would not have received the blessing without the years of "doing" what we committed to do.  It's easy for me to think of it as automatic or simple - but it really is the result of a decision made long ago.  In this way, we have chosen to be "agents unto ourselves" (in both a spiritual AND practical manner) - and that choice to be accountable for our actions has given great blessings. 

In particular, with regard to this move:

3) Our new Bishop is a good man.  I have spoken with him and conversed via text multiple times in the past week.  I have explained our situation to the best of my ability, and he has prayed about what to do as our ecclesiastical leader.  What I am about to share illustrates the effect I see of our sincere, prayerful collaboration, if you will - and it also illustrates how well our Father in Heaven knows us. 

I left Canton Wednesday morning, fully intending to take it relatively easy and arrive in Carson City Saturday evening.  As evening came on Wednesday, I had made good time and talked with Mama to see where the best place to stop would be.  I picked a city and hotel - then spent the next few hours racked with indecision about that choice.  I actually stopped where I had intended to stop, but I couldn't bring myself to check into the hotel - so I lay down in my car and napped for an hour.  Upon waking up, I felt compelled to continue to drive - and this repeated itself two more times that night.  I ended up stopping nearly two hundred miles further along than I had planned - and checking into a motel at about 2:00AM Thursday morning. 

I woke up and left after a relatively short time asleep - awakened by a phone call from one of my daughters and a text message from a former co-worker - and the text was delayed in delivery considerably.  Therefore, I left earlier that morning than I had intended - and, a few hours later, received the phone call that was the primary catalyst for this post. 

Our new Bishop called to tell me that he felt strongly that while I was alone in Carson City I should stay in a situation where I could be as independent as possible - that I shouldn't look for a room to rent cheaply with someone else.  Therefore, he had looked around town this week and found an available kitchenette for me - and he told me he would make sure I could afford to live there until my family joined me this summer.  (We will work out the details when I'm settled into my new job and can formulate a real budget.)  The kicker was that he asked me if there was any way I would be able to make it to town before 5:00PM Friday - knowing I had been planning on arriving late Saturday.  If so, the inn would guarantee the room for me; if not, it wouldn't be a certainty. 

I now know why I felt so driven (pun intended - sorry) to continue driving long into the night on Wednesday - and why I was awakened so early Thursday morning - and why I was able to drive so far yesterday without any undue fatigue.  Surely, the Lord works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. 

How does this relate to accountability?

In two ways:

a) Our new Bishop called our current Bishop.  Our current Bishop told our new Bishop that we had continued to serve as faithfully as we could, given our location and limited finances - and that alone gave our new Bishop the assurance he needed to "go the extra mile" in his prayers and efforts on our behalf.  I know we aren't unique in any way in that regard - that we aren't any "more faithful" than lots of others in any way, but I also know our decision long ago to be actively involved in the kingdom has blessed us in our current situation. 

b) I have tried hard over the years to foster a prayer in my heart at all times - to try to be aware of any promptings I receive and act on them.  I've not been successful all the time, but I have tried.  I know the fact that I felt compelled to continue to drive and shorten the number of days on the road was a direct result of that effort over the years - especially since it wasn't obvious or even recognizable at the time. 

I want to end this post with a simple plea to anyone who reads it:

Do what is right; follow your conscience (no matter what); strive to keep an open heart and mind; let the consequence follow.


Ellen said...

Congratulations on your safe arrival. I'm so glad that your decisions to live your lives in such a way as to be "blessable" has indeed led to blessings! My prayer is that the time until your family joins you is spent in excitement and energy for your new endeavor. Once they're with you again, it will be home again.

Mama D said...

I am at a loss for words. I am full of love for you, Ray, and full of gratitude for the blessings of things falling into place in such unexpected ways, and full of appreciation for a loving Heavenly Father who is watching over us.

Thank you, Ellen, for reminding me that the end result of this separation and move prep is creating our home again.

Dane said...

Carson City is great. I grew up just west of Placerville in California, so we'd drive through Carson on all our trips to Utah. It always felt like a good place to be.

Matthew said...

Glad you arrived safely, Ray. I love it when good things come to those who do good for others.

Wendy Williams said...

Excellent post! Thank you for sharing something so personal. It is one of the most joyful experiences of my life to realize over and over that I am being closely watched over and protected.