Do you ever feel that you've gotten life completely flipped around? Like this just isn't the way that it's supposed to be? Like something completely unconventional would be much better?
You get up each day, go through your day, with everything looking the same as it did the day before. You pay your bills, stick a little in savings and a bit in the offering plate on Sunday. Maybe you stick close to home for a few days to save gas. Maybe you turn the air up to 85 to save electric. Maybe you swipe your debit card to pay for gas without having to worry what your balance is. Maybe you'd rather be cool than worry about how much your electric bill is going to be. Maybe your kids need new shoes and you just go out and buy them, maybe you wait until you can save up some money and find them on sale. Does it ever get blah to anyone else?
I'll be the first to admit that I've got things pretty easy. I rarely have to worry about things mentioned above. Most would think this is wonderful, but yet I still find myself unhappy at times. Where's the joy that I grew up thinking would come along with this lifestyle? Where's the "easy" that I thought came along with it? Why do I so often find myself feeling like a stranger in this life that I thought would be perfect? I live in my dream house. I'm married to a wonderful man. I have 5 amazing children. We've got plenty of food to eat and don't often have to worry about much. My biggest stress is laundry and dishes. My biggest decision most days is what time to start dinner. I AM SPOILED!
Why does this not make me exceedingly happy? Because it comes with a price. This large house requires lots of cleaning and those 5 amazing kids can mess it up much faster than I can clean. Those 5 kids come with lots and lots of laundry. I'm talking 4 loads a day in a super large capacity washing machine. Oh the dishes..... Cereal for breakfast and a salad with dinner? I sure better wash the bowls during the day. That's not counting the work involved with homeschooling those kids. Even now, we're finished with school for the year and yet I'm already preparing for next year.
Have you have thought about how things must have been 100 years ago? This big beautiful home I live in was built for just $10,000 in 1910. No mortgage. How did people do it? Yes, I know they saved for things they wanted but how did they handle the feelings of waiting? Were they as unsatisfied with life as people now are when they're waiting? I honestly think contentment is something that we don't teach anymore. We don't feel this ourselves and we don't teach our children how to be content. We're always reaching for something better, something just out of reach that promises to make us happier than we currently are. How is it that families lived in a little two room house, what most of us would call a shack now, and were happy?
Lately I find myself torn. We've purchased land and hope to build a new home soon. I have pictures and drawings of my dream house. The problem is, that house doesn't fit my dream life. I want relaxing evenings on the front porch, that house promises evenings spent cleaning. I want fresh milk, meat and vegetables. That house promises that my husband will be working 60 hours a week for the next 30 years instead of spending time farming. I struggle with these two very different lives that I dream of. One dream fits right in with societal norms, the other goes completely against them. I have to give up one dream in order to live the other dream but how do I go about doing that without still holding on to the other? How do I find contentment in a simple life when I'm so used to a normal life?
I know the church-y answer of trust and faith but what about the worldly answer? How do I find contentment in a life that no longer promises a future Disney vacation? How will it be to get up early enough in the morning to milk a cow, feed chickens and tend to other animals all before breakfast? Is it possible to completely give up the conveniences that I've become accustomed to so that I can drink a cup of coffee with my husband in the morning before the kids get up? Is it possible to be content with giving up things that we've worked hard to get, in order to have a much smaller house to clean? How do you just walk away from everything that the world tells you that you should have, in order to have something that most would look down on?
I think we've gotten our priorities a bit backwards. For 15 years we've worked hard to get ahead, when what we should have been doing was working hard to be content with simple luxuries. I want a slower life, a simpler life. One that might come with calluses on my hands but also comes with sweet rest at the end of an exhausting day. Maybe it is wishful thinking on my part but I just can't give up this dream of peaceful living. I laugh and say I want to live in a country song but inside I'm not laughing at all.
I want to sit on my front porch, in my bright white rocking chair, watching the corn grow, listening to the cows and the crickets. I want to watch my kids run barefoot, chasing a chicken, while I drink fresh lemonade from a Mason jar. I want to take a glass of sweet tea to my husband as he's tilling up the garden and climb on the tractor with him. I want to sit on the tailgate of the truck, legs dangling, just talking with the kids without a care in the world. Yes, it's different but this is my dream now. I've learned that the rest isn't quite as dreamy as I once thought.