We visited Decatur about a week or so before officially moving here, and found out some important aspects of our days to come.
1. We found an apartment not far from family, for a really good price.
2. We found out Sarah would be eligible to substitute teach right away, whenever an opening came.
3. I was offered a job working for $10 an hour at a home for the developmentally disabled.
4. I was in conversation with a small Nazarene Church here in Decatur where I could help lead a Youth Ministry effort, and they would even try and pay me something!
Working with the developmentally disabled was a lot different from anything I’d ever done. I’m a big fan of Henri Nouwen, and so quickly began getting back into his writings…as many of them were connected to similar circumstances. I worked 2nd shift, so that was tough as well…being gone from 1pm until 11pm everyday.
I loved the men I worked with, though. Their accidental honesty, and genuine “being” in any situation…was refreshing. From leading a Karaoke Night for the house, to making dinner amidst accusations that I was poisoning them, to turning John’s socks and underwear pink on accident (he ran through the whole house, yelling “thanks Chadwick, I’ve always wanted pink underwear!!”, being all sarcastic. Apparently, you don’t wash whites with reds.)….it was an opportunity to grow in many areas. Specifically, my identity. But it was only the beginning of that struggle.
There were plenty of opportunities to love as Christ. Helping a man older than you shower, because he can’t remember how….is something that had so far been reserved for “Tuesdays with Morrie” type of fiction. To be reminded that entire populations of these incredibly special people existed, forgotten by so many in society….was good for my soul.
But honestly, at $10 an hour…realizing it may be a while until I was full time in Youth Ministry again….and wanting to start our family soon….I continued searching for a new job. My identity as youth pastor already gone, I would do anything. My search took me to Taylorville (a 40 minute drive), where I interviewed and was hired at the beginning of April as a Radio Advertising Salesman….with “unlimited income potential”.
A whole new world. One of smiles, handshakes, and slick words. I was good with the smiles, the handshakes, and even prayed that God would help give me situations where I could be a “light in the darkness”, connecting with so many people who’s highest goal was a profit margin.
I enjoyed meeting new people every day. I enjoyed being challenged to see them with God’s eyes, while at the same time trying to sell them something that didn’t exist. I sold airtime. I sold minutes of radio spots to advertise their business, but had no real idea why they would want it. That didn’t make me a very good salesman…but I was able to pretend long enough to have a decent run.
But when I realized that the “unlimited income potential” was pretty much ONLY potential, and never actualized….and I was driving a couple hours just to get to and from work….I knew the search was still on. Still trusting that God had something in store….we prayed….