|Morning Sunrise over Winona|
This week Anne and I are celebrating being married for 14 years. In the beginning of the week I looked over at Anne and said, “Today is our anniversary!” She looked up and said, “You are right, it is.” We were so busy with life’s events that we forgot about that day being special. I then looked over at Anne and kissed her and said, “Happy anniversary sweetheart!”
My thoughts went back 14 years ago to when we first got married. I had just left my career as a principal and was beginning my new job as a teacher at an alternative school near Rochester. Anne was finishing a degree at Winona State and we were living in a house apartment that I had resided in while going to college in Winona years before.
My thoughts went back to an encounter I had a few months before leaving my job as a principal. I was talking to a retired superintendent of the school district I was working in. He looked at me and said, “I hear you are resigning your position as principal here, why?” I had told him that my future wife was finishing a degree in another town and I wanted to be with her. “Why can’t you just stay here and have her move up here?”
“Well, that would mean she would have to quit her college program and give it up, and I won’t ask that of her.”
He then gave me a compliment that I did not deserve by telling me that I was a very good administrator and I had a wonderful career that I had worked and sacrificed for, but now I was just walking away from it. I stood thinking about what he had said and that gave me reason to pause in my thoughts.
I was once married before. We were both working hard, but my business was failing. The economy turned for the worse and I saw that with high interest rates my work was drying up. I felt like a failure and I could offer my wife little, so I went back to school looking for a new career. I was determined to find my self-worth again as a man, and so I devoted all my time in working towards that direction, so much so that I had no room for my wife. My obsession with my career took center stage and I forgot what was really important, my relationship with my God and that of my wife.
|Abby and Will visiting an Antique Establishment.|
I worked harder than ever after having a failed marriage and business. I went to 4 years of college to be a teacher. I then continued on going to college when I could: days and nights, summers and weekends to finish my next 4 years of graduate school while teaching and administrating at the same time. I finally reached the panicle of my career and I found that even though I thought I was happy, I was not. There was something that was not right within my heart. I had an empty feeling in my soul. I could not understand it, I had reached my career goals and it was still not enough to find the peace that I was looking for. I had basically walked away from God and didn’t know that it was him that I needed.
I started to go back to church again. I prayed and began to search for my roots in my faith once more. Even though I loved my job as a school administrator, it was not enough. I asked God to direct me and help me to fill that emptiness in my soul. I talked with many like myself who had what the world considered everything and yet were empty inside. Their marriages were failing and their careers were taking prime spots in their lives. They felt that it was a maze and that there was no way out. Some were top executives in large companies and schools and this puzzled me at the time. “What more could they want? They had the world by the tail!” In taking time in my busy schedule each day, I began to search for answers by reading my bible once again. During this time of searching I was taking doctorate classes at nights and weekends while working 60 plus hour weeks. I began to ask myself once again, “Was I doing the right thing, looking for a career advancement to fill my emptiness?” I hadn’t realized it at the time, but God was drawing me back to him again through these agonizing questions. I was finding that my search for fulfillment began with God and not with more diligence in getting further towards the top of my career. Others that I looked up to had empty lives that were continually fraught with maintaining a lifestyle that ran their lives and not the other way around. By going back to church I was beginning to see that by placing God first again, I would find that peace that I so desperately longed for.
One day while visiting my cousin and her husband in Winona, I was asked to attend church with them. I did so and when visiting with church members, I met Anne. I thought it was by accident, but God had a plan. Initially, I thought that a physician friend of mine would be a perfect choice for Anne. I worked out the introductions and looked forward to them having a wonderful relationship together. It did not go the way I had intended it to go at all. I was learning once again that God’s plans are not at times mans. God was slowly teaching me that I was to seek his will first and then he would lead me in “his” perfect will. “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will direct your path.” Psalms 37
I hadn’t realized it at the time, but I was beginning to have feelings for Anne in the short time while getting to know her. I stepped aside though for my friendship with my physician friend was paramount. I had hoped though that it would work out for them both, but it was not to be. I was going to let it go as a misguided attempt for my friend’s happiness. To my surprise though, my cousin from Winona called me one evening. We had talked for sometime about many things and then she asked me about Anne. I told her that I hadn’t seen Anne since introducing her to my friend. She then asked if I was interested in her and if so, “I would like to arrange for you to go out for dinner after church with my husband and myself, and Anne and her family, that is if she accepts. I think that she likes you Augie and I would like to help you meet with her again.” This threw me off since I did not see this coming at all. Later in retrospect, I could see God working here to guide me in the direction that he wanted me to go.
Needless to say, I did meet with Anne and her family and the rest is history. Was God working in my cousin to call me, yes I can say that he was.
Now standing before the retired superintendent, and thinking about his question as to why I was leaving a career that he thought anyone would want, and one that I had worked so hard to get. I looked at this distinguished gentleman and said, “I am walking away from this job to marry a woman that I love.”
“What will you do for a living Augie?”
“Perhaps bag groceries, I don’t know, all I do know is that I have fallen in love with Anne and she comes before my career.” He then shook his head with a puzzled look on his face and walked away.
|Early morning sunrise viewed from our home.|
God had taken me full circle and showed me that when being in his will, and placing him first, he fulfills the desire of the heart, even if one isn’t aware of their heart’s desire at the time. God gave me a job teaching at-risk children and eventually teaching my own children here at home. My marriage with Anne is growing in God’s perfect love. We experience his grace each day and he is teaching us to love each other as he does us. What a gift God has given to me, this woman who loves me more than I can say. I try each day to be worthy of her, for I know as each day comes and goes, she is a gift from God. I do love Anne with all my heart and he is still teaching me how to be a husband, father and follower of his will. I get up each day and thank God for giving me this life that I don’t deserve, that of a loving wife and a wonderful family. I am happier than I have ever been, and at peace with my choices, choices that were directed by God’s hidden hand. Jehovah Jira!
Anne and I at our Groom's Supper.