From Words to Numbers? For 20 Years? Really?

As I write that title, I can’t help but smile and think that some of my classmates in my English classes at Calvin might think that spending 20 years dealing with numbers would be something along the lines of “cruel and unusual punishment.”

How in the world did I end up getting there? Well, that’s a long story. Probably too long for this space – so we’ll just hit the highlights……

It had to do with growing up a substantial drive away from grandparents – both my wife and I did.

It had to do with living a very short distance (but long enough) away from both my parents and my parents in law.

It had to do with a newborn baby who is, gulp, into her 30’s already. (What happened?)

It had to do with a teaching job market that was really tight.

So what does that give you?

It gives you a young married couple with a newborn baby who had to make a choice – either move away and get a job as a teacher and have our baby only see her grandparents a couple of times a year. Oh and my wife would have to find a different job in a different place – and she had the job she had wanted since before I had the privilege of asking her out on our first date.

Or…..

We stay in town, my wife keeps her job (and 32 years later, she’s still at the same hospital still caring for moms and babies) and my daughter (and her 4 siblings that came later) were able to grow up knowing their grandparents. Oh and then I figure out something else to do with that English Degree.

Guess which one we chose? And all four grandparents and all five kids are better off for it.

My dad has preached a sermon entitled “God Moves in Zig Zag Lines.” Well, through some of those zig zag lines, I found myself in banking. Not just in banking, but in residential lending. And guess what?

The communication skills that Mr. Fondse and Professor VandenBosch instilled in me? Those skills served both my customers and I very well as I was able to help many many people through the often confusing labrynth of mortgage terms and procedures.

Did my English degree serve me well in banking? I believe it did.

Do I ever regret putting my family before my career? No, God had a plan and I just followed it.

So, I thought I was going to be an English Teacher – God “urged” me into banking for 20 years.

And then in 2003, I stepped on a plane in Miami and everything changed…….

(Stay tuned)

Tom

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