I Married the Man I Hope My Son Becomes

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Yesterday was the end of a chapter in Nick’s life. A chapter that I think we’ll both try hard not to dwell on too much, but one that has also been very significant in Nick’s life and even my own. Yesterday was Nick’s last day at Starbucks.

These last few years have been what could be considered Nick’s worst. I mean, really they’ve been more difficult than anyone should have to suffer. After graduating from Duke Divinity School with a Masters of Divinity (a prestigious school and program) and completing a year of CPE, Nick found himself unemployed. His ordination was with the Anglican Church and unfortunately that church isn’t growing at a very rapid rate. There just weren’t that many job opportunities. For over a year, Nick applied to jobs with no doors opening to him.

If you’ve spent any time unemployed, you know how discouraging it can be to put yourself out there and apply for job after job only to be rejected or not even receive an interview. If this wasn’t hard enough, during this time Nick’s first wife asked for a divorce.

He moved back to Champaign and in with his parents because he had no way to support himself in Durham. One week after moving to Champaign, he got a job; his first in 14 months.

I remember his first day at Starbucks. Actually, I remember when he came in to interview with our district superintendent. Our store manager, Malikah, told me before he came in for that interview that she thought if he was hired the two of us could really hit it off. Her words were, “I think I’m going to hire your future husband.” When someone says that to you, you don’t forget the first time you meet them. (By the way, thanks again Malikah. I owe all my happiness to you!)

I’ve never met anyone quite as broken as Nick was that day. He was in a town he never wanted to call home, working a job he was overqualified for and never really wanted in the first place, and trying desperately to save his marriage. The first time he told a joke at work we were all surprised; we didn’t think he knew how to laugh.

It hurts to think back on those days. Not a jealous hurt because he was previously married; the hurt you feel when the one you love hurts. I didn’t love him back then, but I remember the pain in his demeanor and when I think about it…I hurt.

A year into working at Starbucks, Nick told me he had feelings for me. We shortly dated and quickly married. God’s redemption was at work! I think we both thought the career part would come quickly after that; that all the pieces of the puzzle were falling into place. But it would take another year and a half before we’d be where we are today.

He never was as sad as when I first met him, but he also was never as happy as he is now. It was so hard for Nick to work day in and day out in a job he never wanted, that he thought would only be temporary. It was only temporary, but temporary lasted almost 3 years.

Shortly after Milo was born, Nick told me he felt even more desperate to find another job. He said he didn’t want his son growing up with a father who worked at Starbucks. I was crushed; the man I love couldn’t see passed his job and was worried what his son might think of him.

I’m grateful for Nick’s employment at Starbucks: it provided our family with affordable insurance, an income, and not to mention a free pound of coffee each week 😉 But I’m glad that chapter is over too. I needed my husband to come back to life. I needed the last parts of him that had died during his unemployment/underemployment and divorce to be restored. And they have.

That’s a lot of background story, thanks for hanging in there with me.

Nick has suffered a lot these last 4 years. I hope he never experiences anything like it again in his life. But at the end of this, I have never admired and respected someone as much as I do my husband.

While he longed for a different job, Nick was diligent in the one he had. He never considered the work beneath him and worked hard every day. He never complained about the job itself, just the occasional bad day.

More importantly, Nick never lost faith in God or in his calling. I would have given up. I would have taken all of the no’s to mean it was time to consider doing something else. But Nick stood firm. He knew what his passion was for and were he was skilled. For all of the no’s Nick knew that someday there would be a yes. So he waited.

I understand what Nick meant when he said he didn’t want Milo to grow up with a dad who worked at Starbucks. But when I look at my husband, when I consider how steadfast he has been through these years, I plead with God that Milo could grow up to be like his daddy. I pray that Milo will see Nick’s devotion to God, the way he takes time daily to read, pray, and journal, and will do the same.

Because I know Milo will go through hard times too. I’m going to try my best to prevent him from experiencing such pain (I can’t), but if (when) Milo goes through a season of suffering I want him to have the strength to endure it like his daddy did. Watch your daddy Milo. Pay attention to the way he prays and pursues time with God. Watch the way he retreats for times of silence and solitude. Be like your daddy in those ways Milo and you’ll be able to hold tight to God when the days are dark. Grow up to be like your daddy, Milo, and you’ll be a man that your wife says, “I hope our kids grow up to be like their daddy.”

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