After the initial excitement of telling my family that we were going to be moving to Utah, Bonnie retreated to the bedroom to call her parents and have a good cry. Though she was excited about the move, she was sad at the same time and it was important for her to feel that grief.
Having lived in Florida for the previous ten years, I was also a little bit sad about the move, but it was nothing compared to the excitement I had for a new beginning. Even so, it was going to be tough to tell my students about my departure.
To break the news gently, I decided to tell them the whole story from the beginning. I included the parts about deciding not to go back to corporate and about how to interview well over Skype, but most importantly I told them about what it was like for me to trust God and His timing and His will for my life and the life of my family.
From the farm fields of Utah to the mission gardens of Santa Clara University, from the foothills of Silicon Valley to the beaches of Florida, from the janitor’s closet in the Chinese Boarding school in Malaysia to the bunk beds on the cruise ship in Alaska, and from my classroom in Clearwater Florida to my brother’s house in Clearfield Utah… It has been a good journey.
It has been a journey with ups and downs, highs and lows, uphill battles and downhill slides. I have experienced heartaches and heartbreaks, small victories and major triumphs, but along the way there was only one thing that was consistent: God was there.
He never left my side, He never quit carrying me, and He never gave up on me. No matter how selfishly I acted or how despicably I behaved, He was always there, waiting to guide me back to redemption.
Candidly, I struggle to understand why He does it. Why He allows my rebellion, day after day and year after year. I know that Jesus Christ died for my sins and so God no longer sees me and my faults, but the idea of laying down your life for someone who betrayed you is still a mystery. Mystery or not, I accept it and I’m grateful for it.
As I look back on the twist and turns of my journey, it seems that all of my failures empowered and inspired the best times of my life and that even my experience of not fitting in molded me to be comfortable outside of my comfort zone …
For had I gone to Stanford instead of Santa Clara, I wouldn’t have met Fernando, who got me to apply to Inroads, who setup my interview at IBM. I wouldn’t have become a brother of Nu Alpha Kappa, and I wouldn’t have met my college sweetheart. If it weren’t for IBM, I wouldn’t have gotten the job at TI and if weren’t for my divorce, I wouldn’t have gone through all that counseling and poured myself into my faith. If it weren’t for my faith journey, I wouldn’t have questioned my purpose in life and quit my corporate job at TI. And if I hadn’t I hadn’t quit my job, Bonnie would have never gone out with me, because she wasn’t in to corporate schmucks.
If we hadn’t failed to go to Costa Rica full time, I wouldn’t have become the COO of the non-profit in Florida, which meant I couldn’t have gotten fired from the non-profit, which means I wouldn’t have become a full time teacher in Florida, which means I wouldn’t have been qualified to be a full-time teacher in Utah, which means we wouldn’t have moved back to my hometown and our kids wouldn’t be growing up so close to their Mamita y Papito, and their Tios y Tias…
In hindsight, I couldn’t have planned it out any better myself! Which, I guess, is the moral of this whole story. Far too many times, I’ve tried to be in control. I’ve tried to implement my will and dictate my route, when all along Christ has been calling me to follow Him to live the most abundantly life imaginable. But rather than follow willingly, it wasn’t until I had made a complete mess of every situation that I would finally turn to Christ’s prompting and reluctantly follow Him.
Either way, my stubbornness and propensity to mess things up has brought me here. Where is “here” you ask? “Here” is a good place, filled with peace and love. “Here” is an exciting place full of fun and laughter. “Here” is an uncertain place where we don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, but we’re ok with it.
“Here”, most accurately stated, is the culmination of my surrender.