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Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Guest Post with Shawn Smucker

It's great to have my cousin Shawn with us today.  We've grown up together and he was always way cooler then me because: 1.) he was older, 2.) he listened to "Green Day" and 3.) he could get all the way to the end of Super Mario Brothers without dying.  

He's sharing a guest post about he and his wife, Maile.  It seems appropriate to end our "marriage week" , (which is sort of what this week turned into by no planning of my own) with this post from a huband's perspective. Enjoy!  And thanks Shawn for joining us around my kitchen table, (p.s. I prayed you wouldn't go to hell for listening to G.D.)!

Broke, Broken and Ready to Take a Chance

My wife and I stood in the kitchen in the summer of 2009.

“Well, I guess we both know what we have to do now,” she said. 

Considering that I had just told her we were running out of money and that the income from my painting business wasn’t going to pay the bills or get us through the winter, I could only think of a few things that we “both knew we had to do now.”

Try to find me two extra jobs.

Figure out who to borrow more money from.

Throw me out the window.

I waited, holding my breath. But she didn’t put any of those options on the table.

“I guess now is the time to move into your parent’s basement. And you need to try writing full time.”

* * * * *

One of the most tragic things about the life that most of us live is that we have lost our sense of adventure
. We’ve fallen for the lie that comfort and stability are worthy goals around which to create a life. And too often we bring those goals into our marriage relationship, putting pressure on each other to conform to whatever model we grew up seeing as safe.

When Maile looked at me and said what she did, a thrill ran through me. Finally I could give it a shot. I felt like something inside of me was waking up, something that had been euthanized a long time ago.

* * * * *
After spending four months in a crowded basement with my wife and four children, we rented a place in the country. I was making a living writing, we had a garden, and God kept providing: work came in steadily…for the first time in a long time we were paying down our debt…and both of our vehicles were given to us.

In the beginning it wasn’t easy. We had become so used to a certain amount of security. Sometimes, when I only had enough work to cover our bills for one more month, panic rose in my chest and I wanted to scream into my pillow. But when I got close to getting a job, Maile persuaded me otherwise.

“Just keep going,” she said. “We’re not done yet.”

In December, two weeks before Christmas, we had $17 in our account. I went to meet with a potential client, wondering why I was dragging my family through all this. Why couldn’t I just get a normal job like so many of my friends? Who did I think I was – what made me so special, that I thought I could live a dream life doing what I loved doing? The night was dark, and by the time I pulled into his driveway I was ready to give up.

He liked my work. He wanted to move forward. He wrote out a check for $1000 on the spot.

* * * * *

My wife had enough confidence in me to give my dream a shot.

She was no longer concerned with keeping up pretenses among her friends, trying to get them to believe we had more money than we actually had.

She was willing for us to try something different, something that looked different, something that from the outside might be misinterpreted as foolish or irresponsible (even though it wasn’t).

What about you? Is it time to set aside your boring life of comfort and predictability and give your spouse the chance to live their dream?


Janet Oberholtzer said...

Shawn ... great post!
Love the confidence Maile has in you and your dream/desire/skill to write. And I think she's right ... you can/should write.

Though the journeys of our lives are different, Jerry has been that for me ... when I feel like I can't do it, he's my biggest cheerleader.

Sarah Gingrich said...

Inspiring. And I wonder again what to do with my manuscript gathering dust in the drawer.

Mary June Miller said...

Very inspiring... I love this story Shawn! Maile - you totally inspire me.... thank-you for posting this Janelle & thanks for sharing, Shawn.

Shawn Smucker said...

Thanks Janet. It was a real pleasure hanging out with you and Jerry. I'm glad to know he has been that for you - he seems a very steadfast man.

Shawn Smucker said...

Sarah - if the manuscript is complete, you should have someone objective take a look at it for you (not a friend or relative who would no doubt love it, but someone who can be honest about which parts need additional work). I'd be happy to take a look at a portion of it, if you'd like.

Shawn Smucker said...

Thanks MJ! Mai and I have so enjoyed getting to know you and Patrick and hear more about your journey, too.

Jena said...

This post brought tears to my eyes. Thanks Janelle for guest posting and Shawn for writing it... One of the greatest gifts we can give our spouse is believing in them AND their dreams... and KNOWING that marriage is an adventure- that we are on TOGETHER... keeping that perspective(or being reminded of it), through the hard(and impossible) times has brought us back to the Writer of the adventure and caused us to ask Him to give us His perspective. You simply cannot have an adventure without danger, treachery, and pain.... Or victories, great celebrations and JOY...
I would not choose to be on my life adventure with anyone else. And I am so grateful.
(wow- this post really did inspire me!)

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this Janelle!! Thank you Shawn for living out the dreams God has planted in your heart... and thank you Maile for encouraging him!! Your story is inspiring to us all! To live your dreams takes teamwork and trust!! Janelle, David is in L.A. now, working at a studio, living his dream!! So excited for him, so excited that we may move out there with him in June!! This is what the Lord has been doing for a long time, and we are trusting!! THANK YOU for the encouragement! YOU are a blessing!!


Mark and Heather Buckwalter said...

Thank You.


Our Life Version 4.0 said...

I just love this post by Shawn. Thanks for sharing!