This past week our family received two signs from our friend in Heaven, Fr. Kenneth Walker, F.S.S.P.+. If you don’t know of this holy young priest who was tragically killed during a church burglary in 2014, I have a whole post here on his story. In the comment section of that post you will see one from Fr. Walker’s sister mentioning that he often sends rainbows as a sign that a prayer has been answered. (So like St. Therese and her roses!)
I didn’t realize just how soon we would be asking for a rainbow ourselves.
“Well Mariette, they fired me.”
A few weeks ago my family was thrilled on a Saturday morning as Ethan headed off to work. It was the last day of his probationary period before having union protection at his job. Supervisors had already said they wanted him to consider management in the future, he had always had excellent performance reviews, and he passed his first probationary period with flying colors.
A few weeks prior he had been transferred to a short-handed location with a manager known for firing well over half of her employees in this role. He had never missed a day, been late, or had a customer complaint, and she had just worked him over 107 hours in a solid 10 day stint. Surely after nine months of incredibly hard work with no complaints form management or customers, everything was secure.
Halfway through the day I got a call from Ethan. I’ll never forget answering and hearing him say, “Well Mariette, they fired me.”
She let him go. The manager who so often fired didn’t give a real reason. Just vague comments about unreliability which she couldn’t pin point examples for.
We. were. crushed.
We knew we needed many prayers so as we began the job hunt, we went out to the FSSP seminary grounds nearby where Fr. Walker is buried, and we prayed.
We begged Fr. Walker to please bring our petition for a good job that would provide well for us before God, and to please send a rainbow as a sign that our prayer had been answered and we chose the right one.
For the first couple weeks it was very discouraging to receive rejection emails. One particularly depressing day there were three within a few hours, one of which we had really thought was a good possibility. The bulk of Ethan’s adult life had been spent as a teacher. We had finally discerned we want to leave education for good, but breaking into another field was proving very difficult.
We persisted in our search and in visiting Fr. Walker’s grave every Sunday evening asking for help.
Finally a friend suggested a prominent local tech company. It turns out they had a position that could use Ethan’s teaching background to help schools learn to use their software designed for processing tuition and other education needs.
We applied, received a phone interview request, and on a Friday afternoon Ethan chatted with the hiring manager for half an hour. The job paid what we needed, it had many fantastic benefits and perks, it really interested Ethan… and they wanted to see him on Monday for an in-person interview.
On Saturday, the day after the phone interview, we were driving down a street we had been on many times when Philomena called out from the back seat, “A rainbow! Look! A rainbow!” Painted on the side of a daycare was a rainbow we had never noticed before.
We had mentioned the rainbow just once during that first prayer at Fr. Walker’s grave a few weeks before. That’s it. We hadn’t even said the word again, but Philomena so excitedly and loudly noticed this rainbow that I couldn’t believe I’d never noticed before after so many months here.
Immediately I wondered if that was a sign from Heaven about the job.
On Monday afternoon Ethan had an in-person interview, and the following day they called not only offering him the job, but $1,600 a year more than we were originally expecting.
A Second Sign For Good Measure
The girls love to look at the toys at Walmart when we get oil changes, and Ethan had promised them when we got a new job they could go pick out a toy. Zelie chose a baby dolly with a panda on it’s outfit. Philomena wanted one as well; I told her to be sure to get a different color so they could tell the dolls apart. It wasn’t until we got home that night I noticed Pihlomena’s didn’t have a panda on it like Zelie’s did. Her dolly’s outfit had a little rainbow on it.
Next week Ethan embarks on a new job that he is excited to start at a company with a reputation for really taking care of their employees. This position pays better and has a much better schedule than the one we lost, and it is one that could open many doors for corporate education and training, his dream field.
Yesterday we got an email requesting an interview for a position we had applied for almost three weeks ago that actually paid quite a bit more than the one we just accepted. For a single split second I felt disappointment – “ugh, why are they just getting back to us now?! We already signed a contract!”
But then I remembered our rainbows from Fr. Walker. We didn’t pray for the job with the most money. We prayed for a good job that would provide for our family and future, and to know we had chosen the right one.
God is so good, not only in granting us what we really needed and sustaining us through the trial, but also in giving us a special friend in Heaven to support us through the journey and sending two signs confirming our choice along the way.
Fr. Walker, pray for us.