When you live in the midwest, and your job is on the west coast, it seems some reevaluating needs to take place.
Fortunately for Jeremy Tredway, his commute requires climbing a flight of stairs rather than a cross-country flight.
A web developer living in Lincoln, NE, Jeremy has enjoyed the benefits of remaining in a family-friendly and affordable city while working for a company based in San Francisco.
Jeremy is full of confidence and loves creative problem solving. Two characteristics that have been a blessing throughout his life.
Most of Jeremy’s days growing up were spent in some mode of exploration. His band of neighborhood friends sought adventure outdoors or played role-playing games in someone’s basement. When he was alone at home, he lost himself in imaginary worlds found in books.
As he entered high school, the theme of exploration continued. Jeremy’s interest in architecture and engineering evolved into a thought that aerospace engineering would be a good career.
Between his junior and senior year, Jeremy decided to attend a summer seminar at the Air Force Academy to test his theory. The military lifestyle presented there quickly turned him off and he decided he would need to pursue a different career course.
That year Jeremy found himself in an unusual place. He followed a friend to a Young Life meeting where people his age were listening to a message he had never heard. He left shaken and full of questions about Christianity and meaning, the direction of his life and relationships.
The questions continued to nag at him. So much so that in the middle of his senior year, he switched enrollment in a chemistry class to a philosophy class.
Even as Jeremy entered college, architecture and engineering were pushed aside and he triple majored in Philosophy, Psychology, and Independent Studies in Church History.
Despite all of his reflection and philosophical pursuit, Jeremy remained unconvinced. He wasn’t ready to commit to any belief that required a significant life change.
Throughout college, Jeremy and his group of childhood friends stayed close and during the summer following their freshman year, began making some poor decisions.
One summer night, the guys set out to make explosives and while Jeremy was holding a piece of pipe, the explosive went off.
What happened next was unimaginable. In the explosion, Jeremy had lost both hands and shrapnel had broken his knee. He was bleeding profusely from shrapnel wounds to his chest, abdomen, arm and upper right leg.
A critical care nurse nearby heard the sound and rushed to the scene. Her presence that day helped save Jeremy’s life.
The next few months wove together as his body stabilized and he adjusted to his new normal. Weeks of therapy at Madonna Rehabilitation taught him how to use his new prosthetics and despite all he had lost, the word to describe how he felt at that time was ‘Optimistic’.
“It’s hyperbole to say I never journaled, but… I never journaled,” he grabbed a book from his bookshelf. Turning the pages, he explained, “I was in a hard place and wrote this eight days before the accident. ‘Dear Christ, I’m still here…trying to hold on to faith…I want to know where I am going.’ After the accident, I wrote again, but it’s a lot harder to read because I didn’t have hands anymore.”
He smiled and read on, “I wonder if this is God’s answer to my question. It has to be more than coincidence.”
As his journal entry implied, he was ready for change and felt he needed to go a new direction. “A new hope blossomed and motivated me. Something that wasn’t there before, was now present.”
Eventually, Jeremy went back to school and finished his undergrad over a span of six years. Throughout this time, he continued to face questions about his identity and new relationship with God.
Toward the end of his program, Jeremy spent a year at Oxford. He ended his time in Europe with a bike trip, following an ancient path through France and Spain.
The El Camino de Santiago was a pilgrimage also known as St. James’s Way. The route had historical origins, but Jeremy was more concerned with the current challenges the path presented a man with no hands.
“During the pilgrimage, I couldn’t repair a tire, I didn’t know if I could afford the trip, I didn’t know the path, and I didn’t know the language. But I felt like God took care of me.”
Jeremy relays each detail with little surprise in his face or voice.
“I finished the pilgrimage, returned home to complete the last few classes I needed to graduate, met the girl I was to marry and then decided to go to seminary.”
Heeding the repeated advice of friends, Jeremy began pursuing his Masters of Divinity and Counseling and the following year, he was married.
“The interesting thing about seminary is that they don’t push you to do one thing. They want you to consider your gifts and personality and use them.”
By now, Jeremy had spent almost a decade pursuing degrees that pointed toward ministry and counseling, but as he began to spend time taking personality tests and thinking more deeply about his calling in life, he felt pulled back to his original interests in applied sciences.
“I knew some careers were no longer an option without hands.”
So he began thinking about computers. And systems and programming and solving problems.
Jeremy was always curious about those things, and that gave him a head start. Throughout seminary, he had earned the nickname “Tinker” because he was always messing around with his computer. “I learned how to network and reconfigure stuff just by messing around.”
It wasn’t until he was asked to set up a computer network at a friend’s law firm that he began to seriously consider a career change. “I began to talk with friends and professors and pray about everything.”
With only two classes remaining to finish his degree, Jeremy completed his Masters in Theology, switched gears and enrolled in an HTML class at the local community college.
And the rest… is history.
“I love the job. Love solving the problems. Love the detail of putting things together. I find so much pleasure in the creative process.”
Although Jeremy’s life has been filled with shifts, twists, turns and the unexpected, so much of his story is about being passively prepared. His natural curiosity and confidence keeps him one step ahead and he’s not afraid to try new things, explore and solve problems.
As for life’s next curve? That’s still unknown, but Jeremy and his wife are always ready for the next curve because they know that somehow, they’ll be ready. And for them, that’s what really matters.