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An Answer to Prayer

In April of 2002 I was bored. Not just a little bored either, but mind-numbingly, depressingly, discouragingly bored. Having recently been laid off from a job I had held for several years, I was now working at a new job where I was system administrator at a small company in downtown Oakville. Though the pay was good and the office’s location was great, the job itself was terribly drab. It was repetitive and boring—there was little to stimulate an active mind. The quality of my work began to suffer as boredom prevailed. I found myself in the unenviable position of knowing that I was expendable to the company. I did not have enough to do, but knew that if I went to my boss and told him this, I would effectively be writing my own pink slip. I tried to keep busy but with little success. So I sat in my windowless basement office, dealing with terrible headaches from the noise of the forty computers I shared an office with, and waited for the day to end. And always I felt just a little bit guilty for not putting in, and not being able to put in, an honest day’s work.

Around this time I began to wonder if I should begin my own business. I began to pray for clarity and wisdom as I considered the joys and trials of being a small business owner. I am an enterprising sort and knew that being my own boss would fit my personality very well. One day, during my lunch break, I went out walking along the shores of Lake Ontario as I often did during my lunch breaks. I had taught myself the basics of web design and had been doing a small amount of this type of work on the side. I enjoyed the creativity it required and the challenge it presented. I was involved with a couple of companies for which I was doing part-time work with their computers and networks. As the work increased I began to think about the prospects of starting my own company. I desperately wanted to do something that I liked and something that would keep my mind active. I looked forward to the prospect of working from home and being able to be my own boss. It was about these issues that I prayed that day, asking God to give me clarity. I remember praying “God, please just make it crystal clear what you want me to do.” I had a different view—a incomplete and perhaps irrational view—of God’s guidance at that time and I suspect that I was asking God to tie a note around a brick and to heave that brick through my kitchen window. “Start your own business!” the note would thunder to me. Still, I did what I knew how to do, submitted myself to God’s will, and returned to the office feeling encouraged.

Still uncertain of my future I walked into the office ready to finish out the day. No sooner had I walked in the door (five minutes early, as always) that I was told to see my manager immediately. I entered his office and found him sitting there with his boss who had apparently decided to fly up from headquarters in the States. I sat with a strange smirk on my face as I heard them say that my whole department was being closed down and that my manager was going to be the next to leave. As I heard their words I thought back to my prayer and I laughed. I even told them exactly what I was laughing about and how I had prayed about my future just moments before. They smiled politely, wished me the best and had someone accompany me to my desk to pick up my things.

As I was cleaning up my desk I dreaded having to call Aileen to tell her the news. She drove me to work each day and had the car, so I would have to share the news over the phone rather than telling her face-to-face where I knew I could comfort her. She was pregnant (and therefore maybe just a little bit more emotional than usual) and I did not want to have to share with her that I was out of work and then make her drive to get me.

As I fretted about this the phone rang. I discovered it was a close friend calling. He had never called me at work before, but said that he was at the traffic light outside my building and had just remembered something he had to ask me. I told him to pull into the parking lot and I would be right there! I grabbed my things, walked upstairs into the fresh, spring air and left the corporate world behind. Mere minutes after returning home and sharing the news with Aileen the phone rang once more and this time it was a friend calling to say that their company needed a new web site and someone who could contract with them to manage their network. And just like that my company was born.

To be continued tomorrow…