well i didn’t see this coming

well, it’s all but official at this point. i’m expecting a call from hr at any moment now to finalize my return to teaching at hs3.

this is not at all what i expected to happen after leaving teaching just a year before. that decision, made after many prayers and conversations with trusted friends, felt like an enormous step for me that signified a total change in career, and a willingness to take a step into the unknown world of academia. the original hope was that i would continue through  seminary on a full time basis and work toward building up my application for a phd program in theology. this has been a dream of mine for so very long, and it felt amazing to take a bold step forward in pursuing that dream.

but before my first full-time year in seminary could even start, carrie and i received the incredible news that we were pregnant. carrie bought a home pregnancy test at the tail end of our big road trip. inside a little hotel in medford, oregon, it was made clear to us that we would soon be parents.

this didn’t come as a total surprise since we had been trying to get pregnant for some time by that point, but in the months that followed, carrie’s growing belly became an increasingly disruptive force in our lives. suddenly carrie and i were both confronted with major questions concerning our future calling and vocation: should one of us stay home? if so, would we have enough income? most pressing for me was the question of whether or not i could see see us raising our baby on the east coast.

the unfortunate reality is that there is no phd program for theology in washington state. the dream would require a move. for most, this wouldn’t be a big deal. people move all the time. it is far more unusual to find someone like me who is a lifelong resident of a city. but what makes the prospect of moving so unpalatable is the fact that i would be leaving my parents. dennis is gone. and if i were to successfully complete a phd, there is no guarantee at all that i’d be able to return to seattle: i’ve been reminded often that the job market for theologians is weak and its outlook is not promising. i promised dennis that i would take care of my parents in his absence, and i’m not sure i’m willing to renege on that commitment.

so, the dream is on hold. i am thankful for me year in seminary, and i’m glad that i will be able to continue on a part time basis. the flexible schedule that i was afforded this year made the transition to parenthood as smooth as a transition to parenthood could be. i don’t know what the future looks like, but i’m certainly excited to return to the classroom. as painful and difficult as teaching can be, it is pretty fun, too.

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2 thoughts on “well i didn’t see this coming

  1. Wow, Jeff, what a big decision. As brave as it was for you to take the leap of faith and quit teaching in order to start seminary, this step seems even more brave. You’ve inspired me.

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