Monday, December 31, 2012

Still Learning and Yearning

Ahh, a day off...Happy new year to you and yours!

I'm holed up in a toasty corner of the house enjoying actually BEING at home and with my hubby.  I rarely have these moments any more, and the internal Me yearns for more of them, more frequently.  I'm grateful for the increased hours at my job because they're a means to an end.  Towards that end, I long.  And in the meantime I'll soak up every bit of time marked in moments I want to hold and put in my pocket and take out and turn over and over with gratitude and appreciation.  I want to find a way to verbalize a thousand thank-yous heavenward for the perfection of being loved and being allowed to love my husband, my daughter, my friends, having a warm place to call home, having enough to eat and health enough to be present in the whole process.

I am happy.  I have to cultivate happiness when we are under what I feel deep inside myself is a huge, years-in-the-working-for, and time-sensitive overarching goal of getting to a more secure place in general.  There is a niggling anxiety pushing me harder as the goal is more in sight, a deep and visceral thread of gut-level survival instinct that tells me all is not well in the big picture until we reposition ourselves in a different setting where our choices and way of life is a much better fit.  I'm anxious to be there because it will be a place we are less vulnerable to factors that repetitively use up our time, resources, and often our heart.

The delays have been at times so very discouraging I couldn't bring myself to write about them here, to expose and name them.  But I have had to name the lessons, at least to myself in private, and learn to trust God's wisdom and timing in it all, or there won't have been a fruitfulness in all this waiting, working, planning, planting, negotiating, surrendering, and starting over. 

I was not born a patient person, and my impatience is still ever with me even though I've matured and learned to lean into the waiting and the living of life in those times that seemed so slow they crept, or were so rapid-fire it was hard to just breathe.  Life is multi-faceted, so I can say that I cultivate contentment and being present in the Now just as honestly as I can also say I crave a place to strike roots.

I've moved over 24 times in my life, seldom because of any longing to dislodge myself from a particular location.  My father was a salesman, and my adult life had some pauses in a couple of locations that I might call more of a hometown.  But deep in my core I feel the need to have roots with more permanence.  And yes, I'm willing to continue this path whichever way God deems...His way is always best. 

Now that we have the land that we believe we can use and one day make our little farm, I want that One Day.  I don't want to rush God's timing.  Somehow I need to square that with the urge, since having paid the land off, of a horse bursting from the starting gate towards a final push to the finish line in this one big area.  I feel the "finish line" will be a new beginning with all that entails.  And it will have its own timeframe and storyline.  I just want to "Git 'er DONE."  ENOUGH of the WAITING!  (see my patience problem??? ha)

We are on a pay-with-cash-as-you-earn-it time schedule.  And the usual things come up as we are still in the suburbs, still having commutes to work and vehicles that must remain working, blah blah blah.  All the things that add up to $$ that must be expected in the normal flow.

I had an interesting conversation with an older client the other day in which she asked me how I like my aged Jeep and why I don't upgrade to something newer and "more reliable."  I think she meant something with a warranty that needs less routine maintenance and so on.  With better gas mileage, newer tires, and maybe a working AC.  I told her we paid $2,000 for it and it would not get much in a trade-in, we've put money into it to prolong its usefulness, and for the little upkeep it requires we would not come out ahead starting over with something newer and more expensive.  She still could not understand why I would not simply go to a dealership and finance the purchase of a newer vehicle.  And when I explained to her we don't borrow money as a rule, we don't think in terms of financing something, she drew a complete blank, and I realized this is why so many people we know just can't relate to us.

In our budgeting, in our plans to build VERY small and economically once we're on the land, and in only planning the development of the land based on what we can manage to come up with cash-in-hand as we go, and how we plan to actually budget to live on a miniscule budget thereafter, I think we're bucking a thoroughly monolithic modern rationale.  We WON'T have expensive equipment or expensive tools or work trucks, we might have a near-shed for living space, we will have to know our neighbors and work as a group on things, and our wardrobes will be as simple as a few days' worth of clothing kept in good working condition.

And this is what I WANT.  I feel the world is in a daze of unreality about how to adjust to the most basic components of life.  As others worry about a fiscal cliff or bewail the outcomes of elections or votes and are stuck on a Wheel of Blaming The Other Guy, real life goes on.  All those gadgets and technologies that were supposed to offer a higher quality of life have eaten away at people's logic until there really seems to be less engagement and just one long run of distractions after the another.

I'm not saying this with pessimism, I'm saying it with realism.  If I could go NOW to our land and use a bucket for a toilet and a rain barrel as our washing water, yes, I would.  My determination to outlast THESE DISTRACTIONS is very....determined!  I know there's a right timing to this, so I will plug on along.

But as this old year concludes and the new one commences, hear ye hear ye....I will learn these lessons, continue to allow them to empower me and maybe others to a more ACTUAL reality, and embroider this dream with all that joy that comes when even a single step forward is realized.  Maybe the disappointments point us to a less romanticized and clearer picture of what we're building, and maybe it is leaner and has more substance.  And of course a greater appreciation of things we may have otherwise taken for granted.

And the ability, when some modern wisdom around us fails to arrive at expected outcomes, to know there are still real answers and a simpler way well worth the work.

I don't dare re-read this post, or I know I will delete it.  It's one of the reasons I don't post here as often because it comes out like a rambling rant all too often.  I guess I'm just catching my breath today hoping this year ahead is full of actual steps forward and that the working and exhaustion part of this journey is not without an end in sight.  Because in my mind's eye, it's worthwhile, and necessary, and I just hope that God opens doors in ways we ourselves may not be able, and gives us favor.  I'm hopeful, I'm realistic, I'm tired, and I'm grateful.  I thank God for this journey and the stories He gives us along the way, the lessons, the encouragement, the opportunities, and yes even the limitations.  Oh how I love His beautiful world, especially nature, and how much I want to be closer to it.

I want to be there on our land to see the night sky, hear actual leaves move in actual trees and insects humming from blossom to blossom, smell sun and soil and wild growing things and trade some toil and sweat for returns of food and sunburnt skin and more memories together side by side with my beloved--and fashion a haven not just for ourselves but others as well.

What's your dream for this year, what did this past year teach you?  How do you keep your hope sustained?


Catherine said...

Oh, how I recognize your conversation with your client! When I bought my house for cash (instead of getting a mortgage), I was told that was the stupidest thing I could do, that no one pays cash for a house, and I just didn't understand how to make money work for me. When my Durango's engine blew, most people didn't understand why I didn't just buy a new car (with payments) rather than just replace the engine (for cash.) It's hard being a cash customer in a credit economy...:(

I hope you get to your land soon! Have a wonderful New Year!!

small farm girl said...

You will get there! We are building our house and paying as we go. It takes longer but its worth it.

chesapeake said...

Just stumbled upon your blog. Man does this post ring true! We're building a tiny house on wheels with cash, and it's taking forever. No one "gets it" either. "So when will the house be done? Did he not do anything today?" Like my husband isn't working hard enough or something! Most people aren't used to paying cash for as much as a stick of gum these days, so it's hard for anyone to understand why we can't just go out and buy a kitchen sink willy-nilly, or take off three months of being self-employed to go build 24/7.

I also have a dream of farming, no land yet, for now trying to read read read and plant as much as I can. For now my only livestock is a big bucket of hungry worms. I'll take it. :-D I am impatient as well. I want everything NOW! I'm just using this time in limbo (we're living with my parents while the house is being built) to learn what I can on a small scale. I know our land will come along. Sorry for the novel; nice to find a kindred spirit. :-)

Robbyn said...

Catherine, Sherri, Chesapeake, thank you so much for your encouragement, especially since it comes with the authenticity of having experienced these things yourselves and really KNOWING how it're a huge shot in the arm to Jack and myself and it goes a long way towards our getting a new and much-needed jumpstart we need when we begin to lose some steam. I'm so thankful for you...and so glad to be among you!

Carol said...

My husband and I paid off our debt several years ago...before we retired...and are we glad we did. Our SS goes so much farther. We own our own place..nothing fancy. If we don't have the money..we don't buy it. You will be glad you decided to live that way.