Wednesday May 20th
Well, it has been 3 weeks today, since we arrived in Maine. The trip was about 9 days to get here from Texas with a couple stops along the way.
It is funny how God can put the seed of an idea in your heart, and then he sits back and watches it grow. Sometimes he changes the weather to help that seed grow a little faster or stronger, but for the most part he just provides some water and watches. Maybe there are some plants like the one he is planting nearby to offer support, but for the most part I think he enjoys just watching the process. That is how I feel things are with us right now.
The seed was a simplified life. It sounds good, really I think many of us long for a simpler life. But how do you really get there? How do you weed the garden of your life? I cannot pull out perfectly healthy plants in my garden even though I know I planted too much and they may all die, I leave them and hope for the best. But what does that harvest? Not much! I know that a good gardener over plants seeds but then pulls up most of them to make room for the strongest. This is like our life, we have to sometimes pull some great activity, commitment, schedule just because it is not best – simply good. And if we are honest with ourselves we will admit that sometimes good is not good enough. Life is simply too short to not have the best.
I have been writing for a while now about choosing the best and say no to the good and better – being more intentional about when we say yes. But still there are so many commitments that we already have, so much stuff we still need to manage. But at this time in our lives we are getting to see the simpler life. We live in a house these days that we do not own, a smaller house with less stuff than our own house. Fewer appliances, less storage space (which equates to less in the kitchen). Less clothes because we only have what we packed (plus a few things we picked up at the Salvation Army/Goodwill store).
And after doing school this morning at the breakfast table (yes, no school room up here) and getting it all put away. Watching the kids run out to play and help daddy stack a new pile of fire wood, it hits me. I really like this simpler life.
But how do I make this my life since at some point Robert will go back to work, we are no independently wealthy. At some point we will leave the simplicity and beauty of this wonderful house and take up residence among our stuff again. And how do I make changes to our former life so that it looks more like this simplified life? My kids like this life, I am available more for them – not to mention having dad around full time! What kid would not love that?
My friend Kim said it is not just about being up here that is great, it about not being so committed even in the church, homeschool groups, all the good ideas, but maybe not the best at this stage of my life? I mean there is always work that will need to be done in the church when my kids are not young. The homeschool groups are great, but if I am running to do those things I am not at home “HOME schooling” you know?
Now, that “HOME” schooling is a loose term too because we are schooling like crazy up here and most is not at the table with a book. We are seeing light houses and talking about the tides; we are exploring the rocks at low tide and watching the barnacles eat their food from the water. We are comparing the size of crabs and star fish in our hands. I mean that is schooling but in an abstract way – that the kids will never forget! So we do not have to be at home to school, but in a group I love to catch up with my friends and talk about life, when I am with my kids I talk with them. So I see the value in fewer people to pull me away from the most important people…my kids.
I do miss my friends. I miss chatting with Jennifer before the day really gets going, and being encouraged by her enthusiasm and creativity. I miss dinner on Wednesday night in the fellowship hall surrounded by people I know. I certainly miss church on Sunday morning with our church family.
But more than the things I miss, I am thoroughly enjoying less, less business, less stuff, just less. And more family, more quiet time, more peace.
So as I am seeing the sprouting of that seed that God has planted in both my heart and Robert’s, I am excited to see how it will continue to grow in the weeks and months to come as our lives take a new course. A new job, a new home, maybe a new church and community. I am excited to see how these changes will affect our kids, I think almost all for the better. The less I am pulled away the happier they seem to be. They seem to sense our peace up here. They fight less with one another; they show patience and kindness much more. It is almost like they do better with less too. They have not played with toys since we left West Point. (they played with our friend’s son’s toys there) They have not asked for the legos, or the cars, or anything. They are totaling entertained with the woods, sticks, rocks, water, and the like. I brought the toys for rainy days, and we have had a few, but somehow have managed to get through the day without. Books have sure kept us busy too, the library keeps them new and fresh, so we are reading lots, but still enjoying the peace while reading.
God is so blessing us; showing us a new aspect on life. One that I am not sure we could see surrounded by friends and stuff. So while I am not ready to give up my friends, I am much more ready to give up some of that stuff and busyness!