One Crazy Decision

I just finished writing an article for the quarterly magazine published by my church.  The theme of the issue is choices and the article focused specifically on the impact that seemingly small ones can make on a life.  As I was writing earlier, I couldn’t help but contemplate choices I’ve made and the unforseen outcomes of those decisions.  One choice, in particular, is very fresh in my mind because Mr. Whimsey and I are dealing with the consequences of it at this very moment.

The responsibility for the first part of this choice lies solely at that feet of Mr. Whimsey.  At the time of said choice, he was only a much loved boyfriend whom I had every intention of making my husband.  He attended a small private college with the hopes of earning a degree in mechanical engineering.  The college offered a 3:2 program that required him to transfer to an engineering school after his junior year for two more years of studies.  I believe when he graduated, he would have been awarded two degrees.

When the time came to transfer to the engineering college, several unexpected issues popped up.  First of all, the engineering colleges in the 3:2 program were prohibitively expensive. Mr. Whimsey also discovered that some of his hard-won credits wouldn’t be accepted by the second school. This meant even more time and much more money to finish his degree than originally anticipated.  The situation was a frustrating one, to say the least.  After many long hours of talking it over with me and praying, he decided that he would return to the first school and complete his degree in physics.  He graduated summa cum laude in May of 1991.  (Yes, I’m tooting his horn.)

After he graduated, he went to work for the landscaper who had employed him every summer and break of his high school and college careers.  The work and pay were steady but obviously not what he wanted to be doing.  He asked me to marry him that summer – Yes! – and we began planning our wedding for the following June.  At the time, I was a full-time student studying cardiovascular technology and working part-time in the trauma/neuro unit of a local hospital.  I wasn’t bringing in much dough.  Although Mr. Whimsey was actively searching for a job in his field, nothing was turning up.  As the months passed, he became more and more discouraged.

For nine very long months, Mr. Whimsey planted trees, mowed yards, and plowed snow. Then, in February 1992, an opportunity presented itself.  My sister, who is an Xray technologist, heard that the radiation physicist for the hospital where she worked was looking for another associate.  She relayed all the information to us and Mr. Whimsey applied for the job.  We prayed and prayed that the interview would go well, knowing it was a very long shot.  Mr. Whimsey had absolutely no experience with medical physics.  Zip.  Nada.  Nothing.  But after nine months, he was desperate to try anything remotely related to his education.

The interview must have gone very well.  Mr. Whimsey was offered the position over a man with several years of experience.  He was ecstatic.  I was ecstatic.  The job sounded challenging and paid decent money.  However, because of almost-Hubby’s lack of experience in radiation or healthcare, the job was contingent on one very difficult requirement.  He had to complete a two month trial/training period of full-time work without any pay or compensation.  Two months without a paycheck?!  Under different circumstances this might not have been so horrifying (although for the life of me I can’t think what those circumstances could be) but we were four months away from a wedding and I was only working very limited part-time so that I could finish my education.  Two months without an income seemed like an insurmountable obstacle.  Just the thought of it gave me palpitations.  Even so, we both felt that God had brought us this opportunity.  We took a deep breath and decided to go for it.

Mr. Whimsey accepted the job, survived his two month trial run, and secured his position.  Our wedding was beautiful and we began our life together without any second thoughts about the employment decision.  That was almost twenty years ago.  He continues to work for the same company.  Now, he has a Master’s degree in health physics from Georgia Tech, which he somehow managed to accomplish while working full-time and growing our family from three to five people.  He has also completed the rigorous testing for American Board of Radiology (ABR) certification, which is the nationally recognized standard of training and proficiency in his field requiring both written and oral examinations.  He is no longer an inexperienced college graduate.  Instead, he is a knowledgeable and respected expert in his field.  (Again, more horn tooting).

Now to the present time, where things get a little crazy and I can only give God the credit.  Mr. Whimsey’s boss is retiring at the end of this year.  Because of Mr. Whimsey’s credentials and stellar performance, we have been given the opportunity to buy the company.  Amazingly, we find ourselves in a position to be able to purchase it.  On January 1, 2012 we will be the owners of a well-established and highly regarded small business – the very same business where he worked for no pay way back when.

Every single time I think about this situation, I just shake my head in disbelief.  We are on the threshold of a very exciting and just a bit frightening adventure – all because we trusted God with one decision in 1992. It would have been so easy to take the comfortable route and stay with a dependable income before our wedding – and we would have missed out on so many blessings.  I thank God for the courage to make that crazy choice.  Never in our wildest dreams did we see this in our future.

As I look back over the years, I can see God’s hand at work over and over again, bringing us to this point.  I don’t know why He is giving us this incredible opportunity.  However, I do know that there is a purpose for it.  I can’t wait to see how God is going to use us for His plan and I want to be ready and willing when the time comes.

Running Away

October has been a rather rocky month for me and my family.  I won’t go into to details  – there’s no need to wade through all that muck.  Let’s just say that our schedule, the renovation, and school mixed with a dash of illness, anxiety, demon-possessed computer, and traveling husband are beginning to cover the entire Whimsey Pie clan in a smoky haze of burn-out.  Frankly, I’ve been feeling completely overwhelmed by life.  That’s why, when I woke up last Friday to a cloudless autumn morning on the outside of the house and piles of laundry and dirty dishes on the inside, I decided to run away.

I didn’t run very far – only about a twenty-five minute drive.  Even so, it felt like worlds away from the disaster that is my house and the craziness that is my life.  I ended my flight at the edge of a pretty little wilderness called Kelly’s Run.  The trail there is a vigorous loop that traverses varied terrain and sometimes follows the stream it was named after.  Parts of it are very steep and parts are very rocky.  The most difficult sections are very steep and rocky.  This trail cannot be mindlessly attempted.  It is not a leisurely stroll in the park.  It requires focused attention so that twisted ankles don’t occur.  That’s precisley what I wanted – to think of nothing but where to place my feet and how deep to breath.

Kelly’s Run has a wild beauty that I am always surprised to find in tidy, cultivated Lancaster County.  Every time I visit, I feel like I am stepping into the realm of the Woodland Elves.  It’s magical.  And restorative.  The peace and solitude certainly worked its magic on me Friday morning.  I spent three hours climbing over logs, shuffling across ledges, stepping in hidden mud puddles, and soaking in the beauty of the place.  When I finished the hike, I was tired but refreshed.

I’d like to say that my little escape made everything better.  It didn’t.  I still had to face the mounds of dirty clothes and dishes when I got home.  I was still anticipating a very hectic schedule later in the day.  The first floor of my house was still a shambles.  Somehow, it didn’t seem to matter quite so much.  Spending time alone in the quietness and familiarity of God’s incredible handiwork cleared the cobwebs from my brain and heart and sharpened my perspective.  I felt more capable of facing my life.  And isn’t that what a respite, no matter how brief, is supposed to do?

It didn’t stay cloudless for long.  Typical October weather!

Kelly’s Run – the trail’s namesake.

This is the trail.  I wasn’t fibbing when I said steep and rocky.

One wet foot from an accidental puddle stomp.  I hate that!

God is an incredible artist and craftsman…..