It was very odd to have to clean out my desk today. Even though my official last day at FAS is next Thursday, I'm using up all my earned vacation and taking tomorrow through next Wednesday off to take a backpacking trip with some bros and get settled into our new home. By some weird HR rule, I have to spend at least 2 hours on my last official day of work in the office, so I'll return a week from tomorrow to catch up with my team and answer the plethora of questions that I assume will have come up by then. I've spend most of the last two weeks training my replacement and documenting procedures for dozens of the reports and tasks I've developed over the last two years. It's a very odd feeling to cram (mostly) everything you do into roughly 50 pages of bulleted points and ordered lists, and hand that stack of papers off to your replacement.
As I carried a cardboard box with the random stress balls, company paraphernalia, Lego men, and torn-out pages from The Alpinist magazine that I've accumulated over the last two-plus years to my car, I remembered an entry in my journal from the first layoff I experienced. I remember wondering if the receiving guy who opened up that order of several hundred cardboard boxes knew what they would be used for, and if he had been thinking as he assembled them from flat stacks into 1 foot cubes about how sad so many would feel when filling that box with their stuff. It was a weird thought, since I had been so delighted to fill my own.
I feel completely blessed to be leaving FAS on my own terms. While I am totally, utterly grateful to have survived three separate rounds of staffing cuts, I am blown away that God kept me there for so long. It certainly wasn't the timeline I expected. I never would have thought that for a couple of years, I would be spending a third of my life in a cubical, pouring over the minutia of nationwide municipal registration ordinances, and writing Excel macros would be my bread and butter. Yet, at the same time, I look back with only gratitude for not only the security that I was able to provide to my new wife, but also the incredible lessons and insight on teamwork, following well under several different managers, adapting to change, and working hard in all conditions. Not to mention, I'm way better at Excel ;-) Also, during the past two years we've been blessed by being able to pay down on our debt quickly, and with similar working hours, which means we were able to spend a lot of time together in our first year of marriage. And to think, if I had I been laid off in the past year, I likely would have been just settling into another job at this time of year, and perhaps not as open to pursue working for CWR. It seems that yet again, God had my best interests in mind (Romans 8:28 comes to mind). Isn't that interesting? Thank you, Father, for every blessing. Please make me more mindful of the "mundane" ones.
Well, I'm off to New Mexico for the weekend, to bond with some brothers and clear my head before launching into fulltime ministry at camp. Claire will be posting on the progress of our home over the weekend. See you in a few days.