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Yesterday we went to the dog park. I hadn’t been there since last summer because we’d been taking Daisy to one that’s on the way to and from Chloe’s school. As Travis and I sat on our usual bench, memories came flooding back from this time last year. That dog park is where he and I talked at length about a job he’d interviewed for. It’s where he talked to our friend, Eric, at length, about that job. It’s where I told Amanda I was “no longer Switzerland” in a relationship- meaning I was no longer staying out of it. It’s where she and I had the, “Try Southeastern for a semester” talk. And now I can see all of those things from the other side- Travis didn’t get that job, although the whole thing dragged on for four months. That relationship Amanda was in is completely kaput and she’ll be home after finishing her first year in school this weekend. It was strange to be dragged back to those exact moments in one place. Last summer was difficult but change was coming.

And here we are now with a daughter in college, we’re watching as big, amazing doors are swinging wide open for her. She has changed so much in this past year. She’s discovering who she is and who God has made her to be.

We’re on the other side of a tremendously long job search and things are, well, calm. Trav’s commute has been cut by more than half. He doesn’t even take the interstate anymore, which means he doesn’t spend half his life stuck on I-440. He gets home before 6! His job hasn’t kept us up at night or made him work until 3 am, only to be back at 7 am to work until 3 am again, over and over and over. His pager hasn’t gone off incessantly, during a date or family outing. We can go out of town any weekend we want to because he doesn’t have to be within an hour of the office for two weeks out of the month because he’s on call.

We had resigned ourselves to the fact that it’s just the nature of the IT field. Being constantly chained to his job is the price we paid to have a stable career that has allowed me to stay home with our kids. What we didn’t know is that there is at least one company in this area that was pretty much the opposite of what we’re used to. And now I have the opportunity to exhale. I never fully realized how scattered my thoughts were before. I knew I was under stress but I didn’t realize how much. I didn’t realize how much things had changed until a month ago we had family lunch at church. I was sitting across from some friends from Life Group and I asked how they were. We needed to catch up because we hadn’t talked in a while and I was stunned at how much they had to deal with at that moment. Later I moved down the table to another friend from Life Group and she ended up in tears while we were talking. Suddenly I realized the Buttons were the ones *without* the pressing need. It happened so quickly.

It still hasn’t sunk in that we’re in an amazing place now and I guess I can best express it with an analogy. In Tennessee our soil is clay. I didn’t know this until we bought our house and tried to plant things. When it hasn’t rained for a long time and it’s been really hot the clay hardens to a brick-like hardness. It was like that last summer and I went outside to water my rose bush. What I noticed immediately is that the water didn’t soak into the ground at all. It ran across the top of the soil, onto the patio, down the driveway and into the street. It takes a steady rain to begin to soften that clay so that the water can actually soak into the soil.

I know that this is where Travis is supposed to be. I know that God’s plans for us are good and that he has blessed us with this opportunity. I know that the season of insanity we walked through for such a long time is over. I know it’s time for rebuilding and rest and healing. And none of that depends on my feelings. It will be nice though when all of this feels more natural, when it feels more stable, and when I can get some sleep.

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