Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm Struggling

Good news, bad news.

Good news: Jason was cleared by his doctor last week. He's back to full duty at work. He's completely healed. He's so thrilled! He hated feeling like he couldn't do things. But as long as he is comfortable using his arm, the doctor said he can do anything he wants. He's mostly excited to be able to throw a ball again.

Bad news: Jason was cleared by his doctor last week. He's back to full duty at work. I know this shouldn't bother me. The problem is this: While Jason was on restricted duty and working in the office the company started to struggle along with the rest of the economy. They did so many lay offs! Thank heavens we were spared!

Schlumberger's only remaining client, Encana, made some changes while Jason was on restricted duty. They are forcing all the men to live at "man camps" while they are on rotation. This means that for Jason's two weeks on we don't see him at all. I am so angry about this I could scream! This was the reason we moved to Wyoming! So that we wouldn't be apart! There are precious hours at night that we could be spending together as a family, but because of Encana's contract it's just the kids and me.

I have so many conflicting feelings right now. On the one hand, I understand too well that we are lucky to have a job at all in this economy. Last year we were without one and it was scary. We prayed and prayed and tried to listen to the Lord and felt like He provided this opportunity for us. This was what He wanted for us. And we did it. I don't doubt that we did the right thing at that time.

Since we've moved to Green River I have felt many times that this is where we are supposed to be. This is where the Lord wants us. And even though this isn't what I would have chosen for my life, we've been happy. Yes, we complain about the weather and the small town and being away from friends and family. But the reality is we're perfectly happy here, especially knowing that this is what the Lord wants.

Now, because of the changes at work, I feel so confused. I am grateful for Jason's job. I'm grateful that we are able to pay our bills and live more comfortably. It has made life so much less stressful! But now there are things that we are sacrificing that I am not comfortable with.

For one, Jason is now required to work on Sundays. He gets one Sunday a month off. (This was the case before as well, but we were able to work some things out with his supervisor and he was able to get most Sundays off). Most of the men who live around here work some Sundays. The jobs out here require it. It's the norm.

Growing up, I worked one Sunday. It wasn't required at my job and I had been taught that Sunday's were for the Lord. One Sunday at work they needed people to come in pretty badly. They offered double pay. It was optional. This wasn't a new concept. They did this on quite a few Sundays. But this particular Sunday, my parents were out of town. I didn't have to face their disappointment. So I went. It didn't feel right. I knew that what I was doing was wrong. I felt the Lord's disappointment in me. I didn't like it. I haven't worked on a Sunday since.

My dad always told us a story growing up of when he was a teenager and was applying for a job at a pizza place in CA that was owned by an ex-NY-cop from Jersey. He turned it down because they wanted him to work on Sundays. Ultimately, the employer was so impressed with his dedication to his religious beliefs at his age that he offered my dad the job anyway with a promise that he would never have to work on Sundays. As I grew to understand this story more, I knew that it didn't mean that if I refused to work on Sunday I would get the job anyway. It simply meant that the Lord would bless me somehow.

My teenage indiscretion strengthened my faith in this principle. I haven't worked on a Sunday since. And for as long as I've known Jason, he hasn't either. Until this job.

Initially it really bothered me. But it was either that or no job. We accepted this job knowing that we would need to somehow address this issue. After the training period we worked things out so that he didn't work most Sundays, and I felt more comfortable. Now that things have changed I'm back to feeling wrong about it. I have a hard time believing that Heavenly Father would want us to be in a position that requires us to neglect His commandments.

I talked to my dad just a little while ago about how I was feeling. He reminded me of some important things. In Genesis 3:19, after Adam and Eve have partaken of the fruit the Lord says to Adam, In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, til thou return unto the ground; He reminded me that Jason, as a priesthood holder, is given a higher commandment to provide for his family.

As I thought about all of this, I was still confused. I didn't feel that the Lord would give us these two commandments (to provide for our families and to keep the Sabbath holy) and make it impossible. Then I remembered a well known scripture. 1 Nephi 3:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the things which he commandeth them.

So now I am juggling these three things in my head. I know the Lord has commanded us to keep the Sabbath holy. (In fact, this was our lesson in Sunday School in my parents ward this last week, and I felt some very specific thoughts from the spirit). I know that the Lord wants Jason to provide for out family. I know that the Lord wouldn't ask these things of us without providing away for us to do both of these things.

I may not always live the way I'm supposed to. I make plenty of mistakes. But I do have absolute faith that when I do what the Lord asks I am blessed. And I have absolute faith that if we choose to obey His commandments, no matter how hard, we will be taken care of.

As I'm writing out all of these thoughts I am remembering a specific point made in Sunday School this past weekend. We will not only be blessed spiritually for obeying the commandment to keep the Sabbath Day holy, but temporally as well.

I feel so much better right now. Between talking things out with my dad (since I can't talk to Jason), searching the scriptures a little, and writing out my feelings I don't feel any of the anger and frustration I did when I first sat down to write this.

I still don't have an answer to the confusion. I don't know if the way to handle it is to leave Jason's job, to demand Sunday's off, or what. And I'm still pretty scared about it. I don't know what it will take to get us there. I don't know how hard it will be. But I don't doubt at all that in the end we'll be okay, spiritually and temporally.


Tiffany said...

first, i love reading your thoughts. i do miss your weights loss updates though. i've learned something directly related to this subject over the past few years. the lord gives us general commandments and doctrines to live by. but we aren't all clones of one another. his plan for each of us is DIFFERENT. he does give us guidelines, but it is up to us to take those guidelines and pray about how they apply to our lives in each specific situation. it may possibly be the lord's desire and purpose that jason work on sunday at this point. you have to have an open mind that it's possible. so you should pray, make a decision, pray some more about it and get a confirmation that what you've decided is what is best and what the lord desires of you. people are probably reading this thinking i'm crazy. but following the Spirit is what is most important. finding out specifically what the lord wants for you as individuals and as a family is critical to making the best decisions!

Josh and Tiff said...

thanks so much for sharing that. i know you'll find the way to make this situation a good situation, in your eyes and the Lords. just trust in Him and you'll know what to do. good luck!

Griffee's said...

The Lord doesn't make mistakes! You'll get through it. And it's true those of us who are still, for the most part, able to pay are bills should count our blessings!

r said...

Wonderful post! I agree with the above comments, H.F. knows what he's doing and as long as we follow the Spirit, we'll be blessed. Hang in there! You are amazing, being a 'single-mom' for two weeks is an unbelievable challenge. Good luck!

PS Gail says 'Hi' :)

Mandi said...

I love you girl!! I love reading your posts and how you put everything out there. I always get hung up at the part of "What are other people going to think?" I need to get over it. But I wish i could do something for you so you weren't struggling, I know how hard this is for you! My husband has to work an occasional sunday and i wish he would stand up to his LDS boss and be the bigger person, but it's not important to him. I do know that the lord DOES always prepare a way. He will never leave you alone, and he will guide and direct you! Love you!! I'll keep you guys in my prayers.

Scimber said...

Its ok to feel mad about seeing Jason, and grateful to have a job at the same time. I would feel the exact same way! And Heavenly Father knows that wanting to be with your husband isn't a selfish desire.

on a different note: I'm taking a children's lit class and my teacher brings in a ton of books related to what we're talking about that day. Today it was fairy tales, and she brought in "Princess Furball" and "Rumplestilzskin" you remember how we would always read those in Mrs Axenroth's class?! (Especially Rumplestilzskin!) I was totally reminded of you today!

Steffani said...

Mckenna, thank you so much for your post! I loved reading your thoughts, and it really got me thinking about my own situation. It's so hard to know that the Lord wants you to do one thing, but providing or not providing for you family isn't an option. I loved being reminded that all he asks is that you do your best!

Abete and Tara Batini said...

I totally understand how you feel. My husband works in the oil field in Vernal, Ut and I am in Idaho, 5 1/2 hours away. We know that we should be together but are also mindful that we still have a job when so many of our friends and family members have been laid off. I am reminded how Joseph and Emma spent so much time apart. Not that my husband is out proclaiming the gospel but he is providing for his family and we are learning that when the day comes we can be together every night, we won't take it for granted. Maybe reminding yourself it is only temporary will help and when your husband is able to attend church with you, you will hold his hand just a little tighter, cherishing his presence next to you.

In addition, your husband can still try to make Sunday different from the others as we are instructed. He can set special scripture study time. Take his lesson manual to read and study. Maybe this will be the challenge Heavenly Father wants to see if he can accomplish. It is easy to make Sunday different by just going to church, but what about when you are not able to go to church? Do we make that effort to draw closer to the Lord?

Thanks for sharing your struggle. It was something I have been pondering with as well.

Sara said...

When Joel decided to be a doctor - I knew we were in for a rough ride through medical school, residency AND working. I know it does and will continue to take time away from our family. I knew he would have to pull school hours and work hours on Sundays. I also know it's right for us. I can understand a little bit of where you are coming from. Especially on the being away for weeks at a time - as a Navy doc he'll have 6 month deployments regularly. I think it is perfectly wonderful that you are allowing yourself to feel and reconcile these feelings. It's when we push them aside that we do ourselves injustice.

The Lord has said "Don't go into debt" but he also said "Have kids". He wants moms to be educated and to be at home too if possible. Just remember one of Jesus Christ's many addresses to the Jews trying to help them not get so hung up on the "letter of the law" - sometimes the ox is in the mire. If we go to him, he helps guide us in the "best" direction.

Abete and Tara Batini said... for your comments on my blog. I totally agree with you about being a family. Abete adopted Bella last week and we have never been together for more than a few days. However, every night and every morning we have family prayer with the phones on speaker. Before he and I go to bed, we read scriptures together over the phone and are nearing the end of 3 Nephi. Then (it may be very silly) we sleep with the cellphones on and on speaker so if I wake up I can call out to him and he answers. I can even hear him breathing sometimes. I know you will do the right thing for your family but we don't always have an ideal scenerio. We do have the ability to rely on our Father in Heaven and find creative ways to be a family. I think of my brother who had to serve in Afghanistan while his wife was caring for a new infant and a toddler. Their struggle was real and long but now they are stronger for it. They cherish all their time together. You know what will be best for your family and you will grow and be strengthened (but I know we always get uncomfortable when we are forced to grow). You are wonderful and I know if I ever have a chance to meet you I will give you a big hug.

Denise said...

We are often given what might seem to be conflicting counsel. Get out of debt -- but build your food storage and savings. Stay away from bad influences -- but befriend those who are struggling. Work and be self-sufficient -- but only if it's not on Sunday.

I think we all have to find our own balance, often choosing one good thing over another. To everything there is a season. If you are where you think you should be, and you feel like you have been following the right path, then maybe this is just your season to choose working and supporting the family over keeping the Sabbath holy.

In an ideal world, none of us would have to work on the Sabbath, but we aren't in an ideal world. Someone has to put out the fires and deliver the babies and tow the cars and make the meals. What is the intent? To do it because you can, and it will pay well (as when you were a teenager)? Or to do it because it's required and you have a family to support?

There are other ways to keep the Sabbath holy. When I did summer stock, we always worked Sundays, seven shows a week. I usually couldn't go to church because of my daytime job, as well. But every Sunday evening we had a mini-fireside before the show, for whoever wanted to attend. It wasn't the same, but I knew it wouldn't go on forever. Eventually the job would end and I'd be back to having my Sundays free.

I hope you're able to figure out which direction you should go. Your desire is righteous. But the "man camp" thing, that's just ridiculous. I'm furious on your behalf. What are they thinking??!!

Sue said...

I think you know what I would say, and I think you are underestimating yourself, and I think that you already know what to do. :) Absolute faith is wonderful and works miracles, but you already know that!

Tabitha said...

Well, it sounds like everyone before me has left you some pretty wise comments. It also sounds like you do have you head on straight no matter some of the doubt and confusion you're feeling right now. Just know that I love you and you are in my prayers.

Lindsay said...

You have such a strong testimony that I jnow the Lord is going to bless you in every aspect of your life just for trying to do what is right! I just love reading your posts, they always uplift me in someway and make me want to be better! Thanks for that!

Nicole said...

You are such an example Mckenna! I am amazed at how stong of a testimony you have. You are a wonderful woman!

The Smith Fam said...

I agree that your husband can make the Sundays he has to work different from every other day. He can do scripture study, read the lesson manuals, read and write in his journal. All the good things that make Sunday what it is. He could also see if there are any other LDS men feeling the same way about working on Sundays and have church related discussions. He might even be able to take the sacrament if he is able to find other that are willing. But praying is the best way to know what is right for your family!

Randi said...

I love how open you are. That must be really rough to be without Jason for that long. I'm sorry! I understand separation and "single" parenting... so I feel for you.

As for the Sabbath, I would have to agree with your dad. I have to think that Heavenly Father is understanding and knows both of your hearts!

The Larson Family said...

That is such a hard thing. A lot of people in my ward are in the same boat. Especially now. I think the Lord understands and he'll bless you for your desires and efforts.

Addicted Fisherman, SlingShotGirl, and Ms. Drool-bug said...

Wow Mckenna, I'm so sorry that you don't get to see Jason during the two weeks he's gone. I really am sorry. That's not fair at all. Stupid new contract!

I used to feel the same way about working on Sundays, but the more Jared and I talk about our priorities in life, the more we came to the same conclusion you did. This is just our opinion, but maybe you'll be interested...Jared and I both grew up in homes where church callings came before family and we definitely felt the effects of it. To us, family is a higher priority than callings as well as providing. Anyway...just something you might be interested in reading.

The Tarin Family said...

I don't have much I can tell you, only that I enjoy your posts.
I'm sorry you are having to deal with this, but at the same time it could be worse.
I hope you are able to come up with something that helps you feel better about this situation though. Please keep us posted with what you decide.
On a happier note, I'm glad Jason is better!!