Russell and Duenes

These Go To Eleven

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One year ago I graduated from law school, which really only meant two more months of bar exam prep, the most grueling study I have ever had to do. So while I enjoyed law school in many ways, and am grateful for the new friends I made, I have never had a day of sentimental feeling about my legal studies since. I sometimes drive by my law school, and I feel absolutely no desire to be back there. I find being a lawyer stimulating and challenging, but I’m overwhelmingly glad to have law school behind me.

I recently turned 46 years old, and I was briefly thinking back on the last eleven years of my life. Why eleven, you say? In May of 2004 I was a 35 year-old single schoolteacher. I met Jennifer Howard for the first time in-person. She was in the middle of teaching students in Central Asia, and I was teaching high school Bible in the Bay Area. Through a mutual friend we had been emailing each other for several months, but had never met. On Memorial Day, she was coming through Los Angeles on a furlough and I was coming through on my way back to the Bay Area from Mexico. So we met up for the day. Looking back over the eleven years: Jenni and I became a “couple,” Jenni finished her teaching overseas and moved to the Bay Area in October of 2005, we got engaged in April of 2006 (while watching Anne of Green Gables, a most fantastic show which we recently watched again), we married in August of 2006, moved from Berkeley, CA to Oakland, CA in June of 2007, Jenni gave birth to Eli in September of 2007, she gave birth to Dylan in September of 2009, we moved to Alameda, CA in December of 2009, Jenni gave birth to Nathanael in March of 2011, and I accepted Washburn Law School’s offer of admission.

I left my teaching job, we packed up all our stuff and moved to Topeka, KS in June of 2011, started law school that fall, and finished a year ago. Two months later, Jenni gave birth to our only daughter, Georgia, I started working as a lawyer, and we bought a home. It’s all so amazing, unimaginable and redemptive to me. When I consider that I was a single, struggling, and largely unencumbered high school teacher in 2004, and am now a husband, father of four, homeowner, living in a rather smallish Kansas city, working as a public utilities attorney, well, let’s just say that is not how I had it drawn up, and I feel profoundly that I do not deserve any of it. But I’m grateful beyond anything I can express. There have been many joys, as well as much fear and pain, along the way, but God has been constant in His grace and faithfulness, even when I have been unfaithful. He is a sovereign and wise God indeed. Worthy of all glory and honor and praise!



Written by Michael Duenes

May 16, 2015 at 9:07 am

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