Electrician sparks life commitment by turning down abortion clinic job

| March 16, 2011 | 12 Comments

From left, August, Tim, Nicole and Adeline Roach put their trust in God. Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

A sign in the bathroom of Tim and Nicole Roach’s home in Fari­bault reads, “Gratitude, Always Re­member to Count Your Bles­sings.”

“It should say, ‘August, wash your hands and brush your teeth,’” joked Nicole, referring to her 9-year-old son.

The sign has come in handy re­cently as the family, which be­longs to Divine Mercy in Faribault, continues to struggle with Tim’s unemployment, which began in July 2009 when he was laid off of his job as an electrician. And, the couple had to take an even harder look at the concept of gratitude when a huge blessing unexpectedly appeared recently, then vanished in a matter of seconds.

In mid February, Tim, got a call from his local union with the news every laid off worker longs to hear — a job offer.

It couldn’t have come at a better time. Tim’s unemployment benefits were about to run out. He could hardly believe what the voice on the other end was presenting to him —  an offer to be a job foreman for at least 11 months, with a salary of $65,000 to $70,000 a year.

Perfect, Tim thought. Then came the bad news — he would be working on construction of a new Planned Parent­hood Clinic in St. Paul on University Avenue. The highest of highs became the lowest of lows as he quickly turned down the offer.

“The roller coaster started going downhill,” said Tim, 38. “He [union rep] wasn’t really sure if there were going to be abortions there. He kind of sidestepped that, I think, to try to entice me to say yes. But, I said, ‘Wait a minute. It’s a Planned Par­ent­hood.’”

Facing financial fears

And, just like that, Tim went back to being unemployed with no immediate prospects — and his unemployment benefits set to run out sometime this month. Fortu­nate­ly, his wife, Nicole, 37, has a full-time job as a media specialist for Akin Road Elementary School in Farming­ton. Still, things are tight financially for the family, which also includes 11-year-old Adeline.

Though Tim was quick to turn down the offer — the phone conversation lasted only about a minute — Nicole was slower to embrace his decision, mainly because she works with the family budget and has dealt with the financial stress of Tim’s lengthy unemployment.

“The first thing I wanted to do was justify [taking the job],” she said, when Tim called her moments after he turned it down. “It’s just a clinic. No, it isn’t.

“Through this whole process, our faith has deepened,” she said. “We feel like it was a test of our faith. We chose to stand by our faith.”

To some outside observers, this is another important way of being pro-life. Perhaps, not as direct as picketing an abortion clinic, it, nonetheless, sends a message about the sanctity of human life, says Sharon Wilson, respect life coordinator for the archdiocesan Office of Marriage, Family and Life.

Decision inspires homily

“What struck me most is that he turned it down immediately,” she said. “He had within himself that sort of moral upbringing that had him immediately recognize that this was not the right thing to do [take the job].”

Shortly after making his decision, Tim’s story was sent out via e-mail. It landed on the computer of Father Erik Lundgren, associate pastor of Divine Mercy, who parlayed it into one of his homilies. In the Gospel reading for that Sunday, Jesus tells his disciples that they can’t serve both God and money.

”I just thought it was an inspiring example to everyone in our parish, in the zeal that’s necessary for us Catholics to take into the pro-life debate, the pro-life struggle,” Father Lundgren said. “It’s inspiring to me as a priest. Here at Divine Mercy, the words, ‘Jesus, I trust in you’ are written on our baptismal font, and that’s what it’s all about.”

That’s the kind of trust the Roach family is taking up as Tim continues to look for a job. Ultimately, his goal is to start up his own company, but he will need to earn and save money to make that happen. In the meantime, he is eager to take any work he can find. One asset that both he and Nicole have is a sense of peace that wasn’t there just a few months ago.

“In the last six months, we’ve learned to take our fears and worries and give them to God,” Nicole said. “It’s really changed me and my faith. I feel like I’m proud to be a Catholic and proud to take a stand against abortion.”

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  • Hay baddy! I should say Jesus tells his disciples that they can’t serve both God and money. Thanks!

  • Greg

    What an absolutely refreshing story to hear! I hope it gets some secular press as well. Tim and the Catholic Spirit, keep up the great work!

  • Jeanette

    If I had work I would hire him in a minute. I will do the next best thing. I will pray for you and your family.
    Heavenly Father I ask that you bless this man, your faithful serverant. Please send jobs his way so he can
    help support his family, In Jesus name I pray.

    • Mary42

      Thank you Jeanette. Let everyone who reads this Post say a special Prayer for this family so that Tim can get the wonderful job which I am absolutely sure Jesus has earmarked for him. And thank you, Tim, for standing up for the sanctity of life. If each and everyone who calls themselves Catholics were to witness their Faith by action, Satan would not be striding proudly in America like the Collosus mocking God with such glee.

  • Terri M.

    Just looking at your family picture makes me smile! What a great inspiration you are to society. God bless your family!

  • Thank you for being so faithful, for showing all of us what we all need to do. I also will pray for you a holy hour this week.

  • Mel

    Some people "talk the talk" and some people like you and your family –"walk the walk" !!!! Thank you for your Courage and Pro-Life ministry. The Holy Spirit will Bless and Protect you for your Courage and example.

  • Julie

    Tim, You and your family are such an inspiration. As it says in James 1:12, "Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him." May you be forever blessed by your decision and testament to your faith.

  • jimbo

    Tim, you are awesome. I wish you the very best. People of good faith all around the country admire you. Prayers coming your way from Texas.

  • Barbara Keehn

    Wow – Tim and Nicole, your conviction and strong stand on such an important faith and family issue make me proud to call you fellow Catholics. You and your family are added to my prayers and I will remember you next weekend at Mass. Stay strong – God is Merciful! Barb

  • Guest

    Way to stare down and defeat evil temptation! The Great Deceiver likes to strike when we are at our most vulnerable, and I guess he thought this was the right time to strike you and your family. Stay alert, my friend. You have shown tremendous faith, and for that the Devil will likely try again. Be open to receive God's graces, and He will shepherd you through this difficult trial. God bless you and your family. Prayers to you from Oklahoma.

  • Tim and I were childhood friends. He was always Catholic and I converted to the Faith as an adult. I have not talked to Tim in about 20 years but he was always a great guy and a great friend. I’m so happy to hear he is keeping the Faith and standing by Our Lord instead of just running after money.