Yesterday morning, Paul asked, “How do you feel about going to North Carolina?”
My heart beat faster — so he had finally made a decision. We were going to North Carolina. We had a plan. We had a job. I pictured packing up our stuff, kissing family and friends goodbye, and transplanting the Harris’ in North Carolina. My heart tightened. So did my stomach. I didn’t know whether it was due to fear or excitement. I couldn’t read my own heart. I took a deep breath to relax.
I nodded. I believe my face was blank, impassive. “I’m okay with it,” I said. “Question is … how will you like it?”
Slyly he replied, “I’m just kidding. I just wanted to see what you would say.”
“But really,” he added. “What do you think?” And he listed all of the pros and cons of the proposed position.
I answered as blandly as possible. I couldn’t help adding, however, that unless he felt a strong desire to go, it usually is best to wait.
Later in the day, Paul called me and, after talking to our older and wiser friend, he felt he should take the job. California had just cut a massive amount of teachers from their positions. Oregon would continue slashing away at their work force. The teacher market would have another influx of jobless searchers looking for work.
But I thought the recession was over, I think.
Not for teachers.
Why not use the year over there to continue our plan of adventure? We could travel on the way over and work on establishing our art and writing businesses from the stability of a steady position.
Paul called the school and asked for another day to think about it. During that call, the school informed Paul that all of the teachers were requested to take a ten percent cut. But, out of the kindness of their hearts, recognizing Paul would already be making a huge sacrifice, they were only going to ask Paul to take a $1500 cut. So, his measly $30,000 job would now be a measlier $28,500.
Later, that evening, we had our good friends, Robin and Jason, over. They didn’t beat around the bush about their opinion. Jason said, “I’ll pay you $28,000 to not go to North Carolina.” He was exaggerating, of course. But he added some other points — they want Paul to teach three preps of science, design and launch an outdoor program, and volunteer to coach. Be realistic. If Paul wants only a job to pay the bills so he will be able to pursue other passions, that’s not the right position. Between Paul’s and my part-time work, we’re making the same amount. The only thing really required of us is to show up part-time. We can use all of our mental effort toward other things.
Sometimes, when a decision is between two equal choices, a coin is tossed. It’s hard to put the fate of your entire family into the flip of the coin. But you probably remember playing games with the concept– pulling off petals to decide whether someone loves you, bargaining with the universe or God or the devil, etc. Paul tried something fairly similar — something we’ve usually laughed at in characters in Anne of Green Gables or a Mark Twain story. He opened the Bible and pointed his finger. It read … whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
Whether omens or signs exist is neither here nor there. The point is .. we often live like they do. And our interpretation of the world and our faith in God or science or nature colors what we do and say and how we choose to live.
I don’t feel qualified to give much of an apology for the reading of signs and wonders. I just know that I view the world as if I have a destiny to fulfill. And if we believe in a destined life we must assume there is a grand plan with a path which we must discover.
And today, Paul decided that a teaching position in Brevard, North Carolina, isn’t the path to take.