This is a picture of me with Attorney General Sean Reyes at the AG's Summer Family Picnic earlier this month. 23 years ago, I left a job in another state where my friend Adam was one of my co-workers. I felt the job was a bad fit for me, and a lot of the time I was working there I wished I had not accepted it. I only accepted the job because I had been unemployed for several months after moving back to the United States from American Samoa, and I felt desperate to start supporting my family again. I felt like I was in the wrong place. I thought something was not as it should be. The cosmos was out of balance.
Fast forward 23 years and Adam was working in the Education Division in the Attorney General's Office here in Utah. He saw an Assistant Attorney General position come open in the Constitutional Defense and Special Litigation Division. He immediately thought of me and sent me the posting. I had gone back to school after working with Adam to get a postdoc degree emphasizing English and early American legal history because I wanted to be a full-time constitutional lawyer. I applied for a job for the first time in several years. It is a job I am uniquely qualified for and where I believe I can do much good in the world.
As fate would have it, I met Attorney General Sean Reyes a few months earlier when he responded to my LinkedIn marketing bot. Somehow it got through to him. The Attorney General clicked on my profile and said I had an interesting background and he wanted to meet me. So we exchanged phone numbers and met up at lunch time. He was very easy for me to like and to believe in. There was no discussion of me coming to work for him at that time. But when I applied for the job, I sent him a text and asked him to put in a word for me--which he did. After a series of interviews, I was offered the job.
I could not have orchestrated these circumstances if I had tried. As it turned out, that job I thought was all wrong for me (where I met Adam) was a big part of the reason I got the job I have now, 23 years later--which is a dream come true. As it turns out, maybe I was supposed to have that job where I met Adam, and I only found out the reason over two decades later. Cool story huh?
If I hadn't been laid off from my corporate job in Texas and lost my second marriage, I would probably not have moved back to Utah and found a job that fits me much better. I would likely not have met and married Cathy Butler Teichert, who is another huge dream come true.
Many of us in this group have suffered deep disappointments. We often dwell on the thought, "It wasn't supposed to be this way." We often believe the gospel has given us a very clear path through this life that didn't include divorce, disappointment, and heartache. We often feel shame for being in the situations we are in. When those painful circumstances arise, we can tend to feel a little cheated by life. The thought that it wasn't supposed to be the way it is can keep us stuck and discouraged for a long time.
I have learned through MANY experiences that our greatest joys and hopes often literally grow out of our deepest disappointments. There's an old cliche that, "where one door closes another opens." It's true. What they don't tell you is that sometimes that new door waits 23 years to open. What we have to do in difficult circumstances is to trust in God and remain hopeful. That includes accepting the fact that it IS supposed to be this way--and you will eventually know the reason. As the great Apostle Paul said:
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).
I hope and believe that you are called to his purpose too. If you are discouraged and living with disappointments about how your life has "turned out" so far, believe that it is all working for your good. Believe that it is part of God's plan for you and trust in Him. That means continue peacefully striving, even when it seems like there is no point.
Queen Elizabeth I, who presided over the Golden Age of England, was living as a prisoner of her rival older sister, known as, "Bloody Mary," when she was told that she was the new Queen of England. She responded by quoting Psalm 118:2: "It is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.” Marvelous indeed.
There are marvelous things awaiting you in this life too. I pray that you will keep your faith in God and trust in his love and divine purposes.