While I should be in the garden gathering cauliflower heads, cucumbers for pickling, peas for blanching, and green beans for canning I have chosen to sit here indoors catching up on this blogging. All the shouting about simplifying our lives is anything but that this summer. I blame the gardening. But the gardening is the best simply living fun ever. Just goes to show you that said simplicity is not … not at first anyhow. So we press on and fill jars, containers and vases, too busy for much Wal-mart now and hopefully too supplied for later.
What makes a life valid? This question nags me because after deliberately choosing fewer social obligations and personal projects for the summer; I worry that maybe those very things were what made me feel fulfilled. Not that feeling fulfilled is valid either, especially in the sense of the feeling good about myself. Feeling good about feeling good goes about that far. I guess it was high time I figured out that how I feel about life is not nearly as important as having a thankful attitude no matter what gets dished out each day.
Of course, I know that these are typical questions for a woman who finds herself alone at home all day for the first time in her entire life. I have never longed for such a time, mostly because I had never experienced it. Finally, it is beginning to feel inspiring for me to look ahead to a week knowing that there will be at least three such days. My life has been all about people, always.
People: brothers and sisters and parents, then a husband and babies, friends, co-workers, and church folks. All these people means relationships and school and company and schedules. Problems. And joys. There has always been someone to pray for and cook for and save for and live for and give things up for and create joy for and make plans and parties for. There will always be these things to do in some way or other, as long as there are people. And this is what makes me feel fulfilled. This is what I know. It’s what I have ever known.
But things have changed. The 24/7 of child care is over. This is a good change. I like sleeping all night like a dead person in the same spot without having to keep an ear open. Yup, it is good.
Maybe it is the regrouping that seems big. Things like helping the children to truly “leave and cleave”. This is not a one time event, by the way. We get to encourage the married children in this process by not getting involved where we don’t belong. Advise might be given if asked, but we’d rather not solve their problems for them. Why should we? We had our turn at those questions. Now it’s their success or failure.
Besides Elv and I are waking up to the reality of our own existence as a couple. Can you imagine that? It’s like looking around after the dust has settled to see whose still around? And finding each other. Leaving and cleaving is still a current project. It’s deeper and quite a bit more meaningful. Now it means that we find out what each other thinks about the events and information that come to us from our many and various people things. Which requires talking and communicating for which we finally have time, amazingly. To be honest, it is quite freeing to be able to decide together that some great, new ideas and plans of the younger folks are not so new and novel after all and we get to watch them figure it out for themselves, or not watch, as the case may be. We’re great with praying about some things and leaving it at that. We love cheering for winners out loud, too. We must have the smartest kids around, right?
One of the things that I love that we do as a couple is to read together. We each have our book of interest at the moment. He comes to a great piece of wisdom or a well-written description and reads it aloud to me. I share back the things I’m noting in my reading.
When he studies, he reads to me a piece of a great thought he’s accumulated and watches my reaction. Of course, I ask, “Who wrote that?” Not sure why that’s important to me, but I always ask. When he says, “I did.” I get to check on myself to see how I feel about him at the moment by how it strikes me or not. Isn’t that kind of enlightening? Yesterday’s little gem was quite nice and I can’t quote it here nor do I need to, that’s not the point. The point is, we all have these little measurements, whether we like it or not, on how well we are doing as a couple. I want to pay attention to these things and take the best care possible.
As a couple, we’re discovering freedom to work on our dreams together. Small stuff like getting a vehicle retrofitted for our own particular needs of use. Or taking off to the cabin for the weekend. Or planting a big garden.
Big stuff like taking care of property and praying for our children and our church. Just praying. Or just listening. Laughing and crying in the right places for the right reasons.
Most of all, walking a mile each morning at 6:15 with the man of my life before he goes off to work is probably the best part of the day. Now we know why people get out there and walk fast first thing every morning. It’s fun, but more yet it is a defense against laziness and poor health while there’s time and ability. We have far too many dreams to pursue and projects to be done to cave into ourselves and give up life’s joys just yet.