No good vision trip would be complete without God showing up somewhere unexpectedly. This trip was no exception.
Mid-afternoon on the last full day in Paris, we were walking up the hill in Montmartre toward Sacré-Cœur when I got a text message from a coworker. She wanted me to know that a bunch of people in our group had gotten laid off that day. The fact that there was a layoff was not a surprise in and of itself—there had been rumors of this coming for a long time, so we all had just been waiting for it to happen. I was surprised to hear who some of the people were who had been laid off, including the woman who messaged me. After we found out, the five of us stopped and spent a few minutes praying for everyone who had been laid off before we continued on our way. A little while later, I got a call from my boss in Ohio. Since I was busy I didn't answer and let it go to voicemail. When I checked, it just said to call her back when I'm able. I figured it was just a call letting me know that most of my coworkers were not going to be there when I returned and didn't think much about it. Kristy didn't feel the same way, but I guess I was just too optimistic.
Shortly after, I got a text message and an email also asking me to call Ohio. So I decided it was probably urgent enough to go ahead and call. We went to a quiet area, and I made the call. When she answered, she was very nice and asked how my trip was going, and then she said that Marketing had been reorganized and my position was one of the ones eliminated.
It was a shock.
My head filled with a million thoughts and emotions. Anger, fear, frustration and relief all flooded over me as I tried not to say anything mean or rude to her on the phone. After I got off the phone and went back to Kristy, we both were a bit shell-shocked. Someone needed to go to the bathroom, so we headed to a nearby Starbucks to sit and figure things out. Not long after I got a call from an HR person who explained to me the severance package and stuff I needed to know. Thankfully I wasn't getting cut off with nothing. We would have some time to figure things out still.
So just a quick description of my job. I worked for a science information company in the marketing department doing multimedia production and web design. When I first started, I loved the job. It was fun, challenging, and I worked with some great people. Unfortunately, over the four years I was in that position, it didn't stay that way. As time went on, I found my work becoming more and more criticized without merit, people with no understanding of design or anything basically designing what they wanted and having me create it. The creativity was sucked out of my work, I was micromanaged to death, I was surrounded by toxic personalities and a management who encouraged those people and felt threatened by those of us who actually knew what we were doing. For at least two of the four years I was there, I was miserable.
After going through things and talking, we decided it was time to go back out and continue our trip. We weren't going to let this ruin things for us. As we walked along the streets to Sacré-Cœur, I remember starting to feel an overwhelming sense of peace flooding me. After walking through the basilica, we found a pizzeria/piano bar nearby where we sat down for one of the very few real meals we'd had the entire trip.
That meal was like nourishment for my soul. I remember sitting there as the kids, blissfully unaware of the magnitude of what just happened, goofed around and were entertained by our waiter. I was so overwhelmed with emotion, sadness and joy, that I just wasn't sure how to respond. I just wanted to sit and go slow. To enjoy and soak in this time together.
I was not unaware of how fortunate I was in that moment. Unlike most of my coworkers who were sitting at their desks and suddenly told they no longer had a job, I was surrounded by the people I love the most, in a beautiful country that God had already placed on my heart. I was blessed to be able to begin walking through this transition with Kristy right there immediately instead of having to call her from the parking lot and break the news to her.
As we began to think through and process what had happened, we realized that God had really opened the door for us to move toward France. There was nothing to hold us down to Ohio. God removed the safety net. It was either jump forward into God's great adventure, or run away, find a new job and let go of the calling.
We chose to jump and trust that God is going to catch us.
If He has been calling us over and over, confirming time and time again that this is the right direction, then He will also be faithful to provide for us. It's a big step for us, but if we believe God is who He says He is then it's nothing He can't handle.