This has been a really trying week. On Sunday night, Leah and I were doing laundry in our bedroom when Leah happened to look up at the ceiling and saw brown fuzz forming where the ceiling meets the wall just above our bed. It had been raining all weekend, and we’ve had trouble with leaks in that same spot before. It wasn’t unreasonable to think that our bedroom had been claimed by microbial colonists.
Knowing that mold can constitute a serious health risk, Leah sprung into action and got our landlord on the phone. He would be over the next day to examine the problem and see what could be done. In the mean time, Leah and I broke our bed down and moved to the guestroom.
The next morning was largely business as usual. I sent a few follow up emails to places that I had recently applied for employment at. I made a snarky facebook post about all the places I’ve applied at in the last year and went to work. It was roughly at this point on Monday morning that the week really started to go off the rails.
Leah took on the responsibility of dealing with the mold madness. Our landlord made it clear that he felt we were blowing the issue out of proportion. He had no intention of getting an inspection or having a sample tested. He would spray some fungicide around and that was that. Fortunately, however, Leah is part bull-dog and managed to convince our landlord that since he had ripped open the drywall and initiated a full scale invasion by the fungal particulates, he should probably spring for a hotel room.
So what had I been up to? Well, that afternoon I received a facebook message from a friend I went to college with. She said that she wishes she knew I had been looking for work because the place she works at had just hired someone. She went on to tell me that she has a job in which she works from home, deals with sending email, and gets paid nearly double what I currently make, and would I be interested in something like that?
If I had heard this pitch from a stranger or seen an ad for it on Craigslist, I absolutely would have written it off as a scam and ignored it. But this was a real person. Someone I actually knew and was friends with on Facebook. This was legit. So, I told her “God, yes!” and she said she’d get back to me. Later that day, she asked me to send her a copy of my resume.
So that evening found Leah and I in a Ramada a few miles from our house. We were living in a state that was simultaneously filled with hope and despair. Hope that this job would pan out, despair because it appeared that once again, we would be moving in the very near future, as we had no interest in living in a home that was slowly being converted into a living organism.
I tweaked my resume and sent it off to my friend. The next morning I had a phone interview. I don’t remember much of it, as my body had literally gone into fight or flight mode. That’s how much I wanted the job: My physiology was treating that conversation no differently than if I were having it with a saber-toothed cat.
At the tail end of the conversation, moments before we would hang up, he said the words that would absolutely ruin the next two days: “You should hear back by later tonight.”
I spent the rest of the day unable to focus on my work. I kept drifting off into fantasies of working from home. Of what those paychecks would look like. Of how good I could be at it. Every time I snapped back into reality, the only word on my heart was “Please.” It became my mantra. I couldn’t go more than three minutes without making a desperate plea to God.
The day finally ended and I went out to my car only to discover that one of my tires had gone completely flat and I didn’t have a spare. I called Leah to come and get me, and resigned myself to spending the next day dealing with finding a used tire to replace it.
Leah picked me up and told me the news of the day: It turns out the brown fuzz growing on our wall wasn’t actually mold… It was wood pulp that had been sculpted by a few thousand artisan termites. The landlord wasn’t sure how he was going to deal with it, but the bottom line there was that he was going to let us out of our lease. Leah and I were free to move at our leisure instead of a desperate frenzy to try and find somewhere that would let us move in as of May 1st.
With our house issue more or less dealt with, Leah and I could now devote our attention to staring at my phone while we desperately prayed that it would ring. We spent Tuesday and Wednesday with our heart beating in our chests.
It made so much sense. The whole thing, the weird networking, the job itself, the fact that it was sort of a techy thing… There was a poetry to it. We could see God’s fingerprints all over it. We could imagine the incredible story this would make. This was it. This would be the job that would open up our real, for-real “grown-up” lives. We could afford to have a kid with this job. While that last part is absolutely terrifying, it was no less true. This job could be the courier that sent us down the river Styx to the realm of after-thirty. It all seemed so right! Except… It was now two days later and we still hadn’t heard anything back.
Today (Thursday) has been tricky. I woke up to a message from my friend saying that it sounds like they decided to go another direction. She told me that they passed on her initially as well. She said if they liked you they’ll keep your info on file and call you again when something else opens up.
When I read her message, I felt more numb than anything. For the past three days every single fiber of our being has been spent longing for this. Begging God for it. Praying for it. Hoping for it. Wishing for it. Imagining it. But as soon as that first night passed with no call, I had also been trying to prepare for this.
Around 6:30 I got a call from the company. The man I interviewed with confirmed that they had indeed chosen to go with another candidate but that they would keep me in mind. I had the presence of mind to ask if there was any area that I might be able to improve on to help my chances for the next time. He said no, that I was great candidate, but people with accounting backgrounds had been proven to excel at this position and so that was the choice that was made.
So, who knows? Maybe I’ll hear back. Maybe.
In the mean time… Ugh. I’m so sick of this. I know the economy is crappy and that it’s harder for everyone… But I feel like I don’t know what to do anymore. I can’t deign to guess how many jobs I’ve applied for in the past two years. I have literally over a dozen copies of my resume on my computer, each tweaked for another type of position.
I guess what it boils down to, is I don’t know how much of this is because I’m doing something wrong, or because God has some grand scheme that I can’t begin to fathom.
If I’m completely honest, it’s probably safe to say that I’ve been a little huffy at God today… Despite the fact that I prayed multiple times that if I didn’t get the job, I wouldn’t be. This evening I apologized and told him I was just disappointed. I told him I still loved him and that this doesn’t change that.
I still believe in him. I still believe that he cares. That he knows me. That he knows what I want and what I need. I guess I just wish he would cue me into what those things are, since what I think I need and what he thinks I need appear to be two very different things.
In the end, the prayer I wrote down tonight was a simple one:
Just help me be better. A better applicant. A better you-follower. Don’t let me languish here. Help me grow into the life you have planned.
Paul Allen is the editor of Hunting for God. After growing up in an Assemblies of God church, he attended Johnson Bible College for two years before dropping out. In the time since, he has more or less figured out the whole “adulthood” thing, gotten married, and holds a steady job by day and writes movie scripts by night. He currently resides in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife Leah and two cats, Ego and Karma. HfG on FB