I have a little story to tell you. Some of you may be new readers here at Sole Searching, so let me just preface the story first by giving you a little backdrop to the tale that is about to unfold...
After living in the city for 10 years, my husband and our four (now 5) boys moved across the state to a remote farm. Wanting to dive right into country living, we decided to get a trailer house, park it on the farm and live there temporarily (1-2 years) while we built a more suitable home for our family. I like to refer to our "little house on the prairie" as Girdie (she's kind of like a girdle - holding us all in, but just barely). Since moving in to Girdie, we've dressed her up with some quasi-landscaping, put in a garden (mainly to feed the wildlife), seeded a lawn, dug up stickers in the lawn leaving little lawn behind, evicted 2 skunks and a mole, and decided that in the country Christmas lights really can stay up year round. Now, with that little visual, I will begin the story....
Last week my emotional fuse was about as long as a matchstick. I had had it with Girdie. Had it with close quarters, no basement, broken doors, thin walls, yada, yada, yada. We are well past that 1-2 year temporary living thing, and I'm feelin' it. I sometimes fantasize about giving every child a backpack and 10 minutes to stuff it with all the clothes and treasures they desire. Marching out the door with my box of matches, I shout, "Don't forget the marshmallows, boys, we're gonna have us a bonfire!" When questioned by my husband or the locals, I would simply blame it on a candle....or maybe a short fuse.
At this point are you thinking, "Shame on her!"??? Or maybe, "It can't be that bad." Or how about, "This could be a reality show. The Real Farm Wives of Crazy County perhaps??" It's okay. I've said all of those things to myself too. Heck, I even wrote a post on the lessons I've learned from living in a small space. Hypocrite. Guess I need to go back and take a look at that one.
Not only that, I know in my mind that every difficult situation is meant to strengthen us mentally and emotionally, depending on how we approach the challenge. Knowing is one thing, accepting and doing is another thing. (I hate it when my intellect and will are at odds.) Little reminders that I should be thankful for what we have comes across my radar on occasion...sights of poverty on tv or in our small town, homelessness, friends or family in need etc. And, I do feel shame. I feel a resolve to be more thankful, and to live from a place of gratitude. Then, I start to feel just a shade of claustrophobia within Girdie's walls and Bam! I'm right back at the pity party.
Last week, as I was lovingly slapping together a pile of pb & j's for the crew, I had a little mommy-is -ranting-to-herself-under-her breath-so just-ignore-me moment in-front-of-the-kids who did ignore me, because they are boys and were only focused on the food anyway. As I slung the paper plates across the island, I looked up and smarted, "Boys, would you like to live in a bigger house?" To which they replied through grape jelly lips, "Oh, ya, Mom, that would be awesome!" "Well, then, maybe you should start praying about that one."
Without even a slight pause, my son Andrew looks at me and says, "Okay, mommy, but I've been pretty busy praying for those orphans in China, 'cause they really, really need our help."
Super. Long. Pause.
There I was, drowning in my ocean of self-pity, when my 10 year old throws me a life-line.
All I could do was hang my head. His words were exactly what my thick head needed to hear.
My good friend, Katie, at Blessed With Full Hands organized a virtual run to help raise money for an organization called The Little Flowers who offers medical assistance to the 146 million orphans in China. We have been talking about this organization for weeks, looking at pictures online and praying for these babies who so desperately need a home.
Home. Home is where your family is. Home is where your heart is. Home is not space and size, paint colors and furniture patterns, floor coverings and window treatments, gadgets and grandness. Home is an attitude, a perspective, an atmosphere of life, love, encouragement, thankfulness, dreaming, sharing, wondering. A place to rest your head at night so that you can wake up and give a little more today than yesterday. I have that. I have a home, and our children have a home. I don't want us to just survive in this home, I want us to thrive in this home!
Remember in the movie Life is Beautiful how the father risked everything to protect his son, to preserve his innocence and to show him joy in the most dire of circumstances? I am NOT in a dire circumstance, but I do not want to wish away this opportunity to show my children that there can be joy in the midst of life's imperfections. I do not want them to think that happiness can only be obtained when a particular goal is reached, or when what we (think we) want is finally obtained. The joy is in the journey. Real life is in the journey, not just in the destination. Amen??