Day 46 – Is It Time to Move Away?

On August 28th, my wife lost her job. 24 hours later, I lost mine. This blog is a continuation of the day-by-day chronicling of our emotional journey back to employment. This is bound to be upsetting, hilarious and hopeful.

Monday – October 13, 2014

After receiving my call to the Elders Quorum Presidency last night, I did a bit of work for the calling this morning, to prepare, then immediately headed out to our local Social Services office to take care of some stuff there. Part of my responsibilities as the new President is to assess needs for poor or needy families, particularly welfare needs. It’s more than a bit odd to be one of those needy people at the same time I’m supposed to be helping them.

Odd, but not a bad thing. My empathy level is certainly through the roof right now.

All of this contributed to some severe whiplash today. In the afternoon, I had an interview with a company in Salt Lake City. This is a new, fairly big company that has a real need for additional personnel, particularly a creative type who can lead a team. Seems like a terrific job I could be very, very good at.

But living in Utah? Is that really something we’re prepared to do?

Utah, aka Mars

Utah, aka Mars

Yeah, sure, I always said I’d never do it. “Too many dang Mormons,” I’d say. I mean, when the religion becomes the culture, how can that not be a potentially toxic combination? One of the reasons I love California is that we Mormons stick out a bit. I think that makes is easier, not harder, to stay true to our beliefs.

We’re different, and that difference gets highlighted in the oddest of situations. When I was in high school, for example, everyone knew what I believed. One time–only once–I left the F Word slip from my mouth and you’d have thought the Apocalypse had arrived. I mean, I felt terrible about it, but those who heard me say it were beside themselves. It was like they’d seen a unicorn fart in the wild. They held me to a certain standard, and that made it easier for me to hold myself to that same standard.

I want that for my kids, but I know–when I’m honest–that that kind of fidelity to my religion doesn’t just happen in California, or even come from living here. It comes from how I was raised and my own personal testimony. Unless I’m doing a poor job as a parent, my kids should be able to benefit from similar checks and balances, but within themselves.

The reality is, moving to Utah? It’s not impossible. We could do that, and we could be happy doing it. That’s a change I and my family would be willing to make.

And that’s terribly hard to take in and process.

Since I basically knew the changes in the Stake were coming and that we’d be shifted over to a new Ward, I’d been anticipating what my new role in that Ward would be. I thought knowing what calling I would have might be some indication of whether we needed to stay in town or move on to something else. I thought some clarity would come from having somebody, somewhere say, “We want you here.”

This is exceedingly stupid.

I knew it was stupid, and I still thought it. Callings are temporary and I could do this job for just a few weeks and be done with it. That might just be the entire plan. I don’t know. I don’t know what the Lord is thinking and how this is all supposed to play out.

What I do know is this: I’m more conflicted now than I was 48 hours ago. I want to be part of the all the exciting changes and stay here and serve. I want to move away. I want to stay here and serve. I want to do something new somewhere else.

If anything, I have less clarity than ever.

But no matter what–no matter what–moving away will/would be incredibly difficult. Moving away is to leave behind not only family and friends and stores you like and restaurants you frequent and side roads you know to take and that park nearby your daughters love and the house you’ve imprinted yourselves on, but also all the things you were going to do. All the things you could have done had you stayed. All the friends you would have made and all the ways you could have contributed and helped someone.

Those are the things that are hard to think about. Usually, I don’t. But today, it’s like the universe is throwing it all in my face.

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17 comments

  1. Brock, having lived in Utah for 7 years, I’ll say that you may or may not love the place and the culture, but just like anywhere else, there will be people with whom you would click. We made wonderful friends there, had a great community, unlike anything I had experienced before. And yet, I’m glad that we moved to SC so that I can appreciate life in the mission field again and teach my children that the majority of the earth doesn’t revolve around LDS culture. So, good and bad like everywhere else in the world. Overall, I would say it was a good experience living there. If it happens, just expect some culture shock. There was definitely some of that moving there from Connecticut, where there are far fewer LDS people than in CA. Best of luck to you and your family. You guys rock and I’m rooting for you (all) from SC!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the insider knowledge, Andrea. I’ve visited Utah a few times and I know a bit about the culture shock of which you speak, but I figure going in with both eyes we would be okay.

      But who knows? It’s just one opportunity among many. We’ll see what happens…

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  2. Quite a conundrum for sure. Days like this are hard I know, but when it’s finally time for you to make your next move (physical or not) I do believe that you will know exactly what you have to do. These doubts plaguing you right now are just your discomfort from not having the control in life most of us take for granted. Hang in there with it and look for your window….it’ll find you when it’s time.

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    1. I hear you. I do maintain a positive outlook on the whole thing, but I also try to be true to the changing shifts in perspective and challenges each day brings. Good things–and answers–are ahead. I don’t doubt it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh man. The reason we ended up in Utah (from Arizona…which we adored) was because of a job offer that came during unemployment. My husband, who’s a convert and didn’t know any better, was thrilled. I was devastated. Ultimately it came down to a prayer in which I felt the undeniable prompting that this wasn’t about what I WANTED, it was about the family. I’m a selfish, snobby girl, and was being told to shut my stupid mouth, grow up, and support my husband.

    We lasted about a year. We’re not outdoorsy sports lovers, hate snow that never leaves, and crave diversity both in religion and ethnicity. But. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. A lot of other people would never want to live anywhere else, so there must be something good to it, right? It just wasn’t a fit for our family. That being said, it may just be another stop in your journey.

    P.S The DFW area is fabulous…just in case it’s a possibility too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, that sounds like a worst case scenario to me, but if you had to go through that then you had to go through that, right? I appreciate the dissenting viewpoint. I am not an “outdoorsy sports lover” either.

      P.S. What does DFW stand for?

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  4. I’ll skip on commenting on Utah. I’m ultra biased against it, therefore you should ignore everything I say on the topic.

    As for the calling, I totally get that. I don’t know if you knew this, but when we moved back from Sacramento, we rented in Shepherd Ward. After a month in the ward (and a week after I found out I was pregnant), the Bishop called me to be RS Pres. I have never been so shocked. We knew our time in the ward was temporary, I didn’t know a soul, and my pregnancies are notoriously difficult. The bishop told me they scrapped the idea of calling me 3 times and the 4th time realized that it was how it was supposed to be. In utter confusion, I accepted and served for a year. I was either in the hospital or on bed rest for the majority of the time. The ward really came together and served me more than I served them. I can’t tell you why it was meant to be that way, but I can tell you that it is a beautiful thing when an auxiliary leader both serves and is served in a ward… for whatever amount of time. There’s nothing random about it, and it is going to bless you and the people you serve! I am excited for you!

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    1. Wow, I didn’t know that story at all, Kathryn. That had to have been a hard thing to deal with at the time when I’m sure you’d probably had rather served others. Already I can see how my status in life is going to really impact those I serve, particularly as I visit their homes to consider their welfare needs. I’m right there in it with them.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s opening your mind to things that you otherwise would not see. That’s the beauty of inspired callings. You’re where you need to be NOW. The future will sort itself out while you work and accept service in the NOW.

        (And yes. I hated not being able to do what other RS presidents could do. I had to stop thinking of the calling as a long to-do list. I had to prioritize. Everyday I had to pray and ask “what is the most important thing that YOU want me to do, because I can’t do all of this!?” And I felt guided to do that specific thing, which sometimes wasn’t even on the list to begin with! Many things slipped through the cracks, and I had to learn how to accept that…. wich was hard. Seriously hard. It was a very odd year, but our family was so blessed from it!

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  5. UTAH! UTAH! UTAH! 😉 Of course I may be a little biased, however, because I grew up in California, I can see this from both sides. I can also say that I am so happy to be here and to be raising my family here. It’s beautiful country with beautiful seasons. I think that with anything in life, it is always what you make of it. You can find both sides of the fence no matter where you are. I know you already know that. Sometimes a fresh new change is just the thing we need to help us rise to our very best. I know we’d sure love to have you here. 🙂 Best of luck- a very life-changing decision for sure. Love you guys.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your vote is duly noted, Kris. I’ve long admired how happy you all seem to be in Utah after growing up in California. That’s a source of hope for me. I think the trick would be finding your niche and the friends who can support you in who you want to be.

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  6. Well I know nothing of Utah but I have visited my brother and his family in California. It is a lovely place. Really interesting to hear peoples views on hearing Mormon views on moving to a Mormon place..

    I hope you get answers to your questions soon

    love Denise .

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    1. California IS a lovely place. I completely agree, Denise.

      Mormons are not quite the homogenous culture people believe, that’s for sure.

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