I turned down what I love to be where I love.
In my final months at Columbia Bible College, I applied to three grad schools: University of Edinburgh, Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario, and Regent College, here in Vancouver. While Edinburgh turned me down, I was accepted at both Regent and Conrad Grebel. Conrad Grebel offered me a tuition-free scholarship.
This should have been a no-brainer. Why would I say no? I love learning, love the college environment, love study. And yet, something held me back. The idea of traveling across the country, leaving friends, family, and home for the sake of two or three years of education did not feel right.
One of the reasons that leaving did not feel right is that my wife and I have long felt like our place was in Vancouver, living in the Downtown East Side with our friends – many of whom are addicted and impoverished. After praying and talking a great deal with friends and family, we began to put into motion our plan to move to Vancouver.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been working for a construction company all summer. While the pay has been decent, the job has presented me with a dilemma. How do I apply for jobs in the DTES, many of which start with casual (part-time) hours, while working ten hour days with a two hour commute? I desperately wanted to quit my job (and lose my expensive and time-consuming commute), and simply trust God to provide me with a job in the DTES.
I also know that God gives us good sense and the ability to work hard. Quitting would not be a clever idea, not with bills and rent and food to provide.
We did find a place in Vancouver, however, and my anxiety began to rise as I realized just how tricky this transition from full-time construction to DTES who-knows-what would be.
finally, moving week arrived. Wednesday I had an Interview with Union Gospel Mission – well, it was called an interview, but it was more of a ‘when can you start?’ discussion. The job is casual though, and so the hours would vary from week to week, with no promises on how many hours I could get. The more available you are, the more hours you can get… but it’s hard to be available when you’re gone twelve hours every day. More confusion, more anxiety.
Friday was moving day at last. I went to work, leaving my brother and wife to pack up the apartment and get ready for our move, which would begin after I got home from work around 6pm. God, however, had other ideas. Literally two days after my interview at UGM, I was laid off from my job. The work was slowing down, and myself and four or five others were gone.
My drive home was interesting. I did a lot of thinking and praying. Strangely, my anxiety was pretty well gone. It was pretty clear to me that this was God closing a door, and pushing me somewhere. If being laid off wasn’t clear enough, however, God decided to hammer the message home. After I arrived in Abbotsford, I picked up my brother and left to pick up the rental moving truck. As we went over a speed bump in the CBC parking lot, the entire muffler detached from the car.
What are those odds?
After driving this car for a month, after traveling over 150 km a day, after going over fifteen or twenty traffic-calming speed dumps every day, the muffler falls off AFTER I get laid off, and AFTER I made it back to Abbotsford. Crazy.
We got the muffler patched up, and the move happened really smoothly (almost all moved in!). While I could see the muffler falling off and losing my job as hugely negative things, I see them as God speaking in really exciting ways. He cares, about mufflers, about anxiety, about the little things and the big things. God is Good.