Earlier this week, Adam, who has been working for a company here in Fargo from home for more than a year, came upstairs and calmly announced, “Well, I got another raise…” At 33 years old, he is now making more than I made after 24 years in the ministry. And this was not the job he actually hunted or searched for – but apparently, he’s very good as what he does, and the company would rather pay him than lose him. So goes life in the ongoing pandemic!
Also earlier this week, Aaron came upstairs, and mentioned that he had the first in a series of interviews for a college position in Wisconsin. Let me try to break down the significance of that statement… Aaron finished his successful defense of his PhD. thesis, and was awarded his degree in full in the spring of 2020. “Doctor Cross,” as we teased him, had taken a long journey, but indeed accomplished a pretty strong feat. Of course, the next step, which he had also been working on for more than a year prior to that, was to secure a tenure track position somewhere at some university or college in the US.
Guess what happened in March of 2020? If you answered, “The world shut down…” you would be correct. And in that world, the sphere of academia took it hard. There was turmoil in hundreds of schools, who cancelled classes, and especially, trimmed back costs to make ends meet “for now.” Part of the trimming was the almost across-the-board freezing or elimination of professor positions. Now, if you are a brand new PhD., with no experience or tenure beyond teaching the classes while you were gaining that degree, what was open just a few months before became a slammed-shut door. It was an emotionally crushing time, with no one to blame except the stinking virus.
Still, Aaron applied, and applied, and applied. Every week he would send out resumes and applications, although the openings went down from significant institutions of higher ed, to small, sometimes sketchy colleges. On top of that, we learned that, although you might even be able to get a job clear across the country as an instructor or lecturer, it would more than likely be only a one-year contract, and then you are stuck trying to piece together some other employment for the next year, and then the next. It was a bleak, and barren landscape.
Finally, after months of “no”s or no answer at all, in frustration, Aaron declared he was giving up teaching, and was going to try to find some other means of using his degree. Remember how long it was, going through the summer of 2020, and then the fall, and then the winter of 2021, and then the spring?...
Finally, as things opened up – a little – he was given the chance to interview at a couple of different small colleges – he even was flown down to one spot in the South, but nothing still materialized that was an actual offer or possibility.
That’s why it seemed like a hopeful sign when he told us there was a place in Wisconsin that was interested in him being part of the screening process, and then see about the next couple of stages of interview. It sounds like a pretty nice setting, with great compensation and some real hope!
So, wearing his suit – sans shoes and socks – Aaron yesterday had his screening over the internet, and seemed pretty confident about the way it turned out. That’s always a good sign, and we’ll have to see how it progresses…
Then Cheri and I went to the grocery store. When we got back – two hours after the interview, Aaron told us he received another phone call from Kentucky, from a small university there. The recruiter told him that the person who first was offered the position there had to turn it down, and that Aaron was the actual next choice. Talk about when it rains, it pours! Of course, there are always wrinkles. The second position is set to start in 16 days. That would mean interview successfully, then look for an apartment or some other housing, set up office after moving and holding the first class session in two weeks…
So – back to prayer. We have been praying for God to make a way where there is no way, but now our prayers become for discernment for Aaron to select the best place to work, and to live, as he leave home.
All this of course is happening, as we wait with care for the progression of Cheri’s mom’s cancer. When we look at the transitions that have happened in our family, and the ones about to occur, the best we can do is to pray for God’s sustaining and directing love to help us enjoy life, and to be prepared for what’s ahead.
Maybe you are going through “stuff” in your life as well. Maybe it’s joyful “stuff,” or perhaps it includes things you would never hope for anyone to have to go through. That’s life, and as I always say: it’s not what happens to you that matters – it’s what you do with what happens to you that makes all the difference.
Blessings in the days to comes, both for our family and yours. Keep faith.
Word for the day: noetic. Pronounced no-ET-ick. Not a word we hear often, but it’s rather a simple and direct word. Coming from the Greek, noesis, meaning “perception, or intelligence or thought”, from noein, “to see or perceive,” and lastly noos, which means “mind, or thought.” Something that is noetic is something that is of or relating to the mind. It’s not simply about intelligence, but it more encompasses our logic, our bearing toward the world, and our way of doing problem solving, or imagining what could be. It’s definitely not about just how we feel. It’s what we think.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.