When I was in high school I remember saying, “I can’t wait to go to college.” By the time I was a senior in college, I was excited about graduate school. Then came my marriage, job opportunities, divorce, houses, remarriage, children, and more.
If we are not careful, we will find ourselves believing the illusion that peace and happiness is just around the corner, instead of being available right here and right now.
If we are not careful, we will miss the gifts of where we live today, the relationships we have in our lives already, and the vocation that is part of our daily routine.
Mary and I have one of these challenges right now. We have an empty nest with both kids entering their sophomore years in college. In the past year I started the most challenging and enjoyable job I’ve ever had, and Mary has multiple opportunities for her work and education.
We want to simplify our lives, which is of course complex. To simplify one’s life in the U.S. is like being a salmon who swims upstream. Our American culture is the river and our new dream of owning less is the salmon. To simplify is to go against against the flow.
One of our “simplicity decisions” is deciding where we want to live at this time in our lives–the lake where we presently live, or in the city of Birmingham.
As many of my friends know, when I was a “single again man” it took me six years to get back on my feet financially and emotionally. And so in 2002, I decided to build a house on the lake.
It was time to go for a dream to live on the water. I went to the bank and borrowed the maximum amount I could, bought a couple of acres, and before long a house was built and I moved in. Six months later, I met Mary, was swept off my feet and married about eighteen months later. Much to my surprise, we moved our new family to the lake in the country so that we could all live together.
Our home has been a wonderful place to be family with one another. Beautiful nature has renewed our souls on a regular basis.
On the other hand, it has been challenging because the grocery store and our church are a thirty-five minute drive one way, and my work is an hour away.
So why and what are we planning to do? We don’t know yet, but we will when it’s time.
Over the next few days or weeks, I am going to write about my journey of deciding where to live and the reasons behind it. I need to do so for my own sake.
There is grief to work through and new dreams to pursue.
I hope it will be helpful to you, my readers.
In the meantime, I am thankful for this day, where we live now, and for new dreams in my life.
When have you chosen to simplify your life? What was it like? Was it worth it? Why or why not? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section below. Let us learn together.
Peace be with you, today,