After my phenomenal weekend at Vertical 2017, I felt that it was time to look for another job.
You see, for 18 years I had worked on my family farm. For close to 30 years, I had lived with my family. For 14 years, I had worshiped with my family, at home, with almost no other Christians.
It was time to broaden my horizons.
I had a little problem, though. It comes in green, with pictures of dead people. This little problem is called money.
Namely, it’s expensive to live in this area. The government spending sure pushes up housing prices around here. I knew that getting a $13-per-hour job as a cashier wasn’t going to pay enough for me to eat and keep a roof over my head, too. Well, unless I was willing to live in a room in someone’s basement for $500 per month.
(Contrast this with the area where my friend “Emily” lives, where I could rent a whole house trailer for $350 per month.)
This particular miracle actually started a year earlier, when my dad discovered that a local community college was offering grants, in cooperation with the State of Maryland, to get your commercial driver’s license, or CDL.
At the time, I had been delivering products for our farm on a weekly basis for almost ten years. Delivery day was a highlight of my week. I drove a small box truck that didn’t require a CDL. But my dad encouraged me to get my CDL. “You’ll be able to drive bigger vehicles for the farm,” he said, “and it gives you more career opportunities.”
So my brother and I got our Class B CDL’s–which means I can drive anything except a tractor-trailer (or a bus, because I’m not passenger certified).
My CDL rattled around in my pocket as I drove a non-commercial truck and looked for another job in the early part of 2017. (This was months before Vertical.) I had felt God calling me to find another job back in December or January, but I didn’t find anything that was suitable. Then I started getting ideas about taking a summer vacation, and decided that I would wait to change jobs until after that vacation.
(By the way, I never took that summer vacation.)
So here I was, on a mid-September evening, sitting in the family room browsing Craigslist job listings. And then I saw it: a listing that simply said, “CDL Class B Drivers Needed”. I pulled it up. It was a job delivering organic food.
That was exactly what I was doing for the farm.
And the salary was enough to keep a roof over my head, food in my fridge, and gas in the car.
The kicker? This job wasn’t available back when I first started job hunting. This particular company didn’t even have a presence in this area.
I submitted my resumè, and a few days later, I sat down for an interview with the founder of the company. He offered me a job on the spot.
And so, a few weeks later, I climbed into my car and headed off for my first day of training.
It wasn’t all roses. My first day running solo was over 16 hours long. It culminated with me spending the night in a sleazy motel because my vehicle battery had died after I left the interior lights on all day. For the first two months, I worked out of a warehouse over an hour from home, and I spent a month living in a motel during the week.
But I hung on and learned the ropes. Farm life teaches you a lot of grit. And I wasn’t interested in quitting.
Two months after I started my job, I moved into my own apartment. I was pushing 30 years old, and I was happy to have my own space at last. And, thanks to our new warehouse finally coming online, I was only five minutes from work.
Five minutes the other way took me to a church that I had visited a number of times and appreciated, Emmanuel Alliance Church (now called New Design Church).
It was a new life. It would have its challenges.
But I didn’t want it any other way.