However, not one of those changes was for the worse. Each one has brought more fulfillment, joy, and adventure to my life. So now, as I stare down the barrel of this next great shift, I find myself wondering yet again, "How can it get any better than this?"
I love our life. I love the normal routine of our day-to-day together. I love our friends, our home, our community. I love the person I've become by being secure in a great man's love for me. I love that I have found ways to express some of the creativity that I had to ignore for all those years of schooling. I am happy and thankful and content, down deep, where it counts--even though there are a lot of days (that I've shared with you all) when I'm discontent up here on the surface.
There are some things that I don't love, though, and, when I look at my little insignificant discontentments, I feel like they will all be fixed by one thing. One thing that I keep counting on being there when all this training finally ends------money. It's ugly to admit isn't it? It feels bad to admit that I want some of that stuff. But lately, especially as I've gone through Ecclesiastes, I've started to wonder if all these little discontentments I think I'm going to fix when Jeremiah can finally practice on his own, are really going to bring me more joy. Maybe even the opposite.
Let me stop philosophizing and give some literal examples:
Discontentment A: I wish I had more room in our home so that I could entertain our friends and family more comfortably.Realization A: All our friends and family have fit just fine so far. More than just fine! How many of your best memories involve being crammed in a house that's too small, which led to everyone being "forced" to be together? There is something to be said for the intimacy that's created when we can't each run away to our separate rooms and have "our own space." Just a couple of nights ago at dinner, each person around our big round table shared that their best memories of childhood were either in a lakehouse with only a few rooms, an in-between home where everybody had to share rooms, or a grandparents' house with cousins wonderfully oozing out of every crevice. The one thing each great memory shared, was the fact that there was not enough space! SO WHY DO I WANT TO BUILD A BIG DREAMHOUSE???
Discontentment B: I wish I could afford to buy a new outfit now and then, instead of always having to raid poor Ashley's closet every time I have an event (To the point where each Christmas present she opened this year, she actually turned to me and said, "Look Abby, we got a new dress!").
Realization B: Even if I filled 20 closets with designer clothes I couldn't wait to wear, it wouldn't be nearly as much fun as the countless laughs I've shared with Ashley as I pilfered and tried on all her clothes and heard her say, "Abby, I promise, your butt's supposed to look like that in that outfit!" or even the honesty of, "Take that off immediately!" :)
Discontentment C: I wish I could afford to get a babysitter a little more often.
Realization C: We've drawn closer to each other during all our time together, and our family has been there time and again to offer help and relief.
Discontentment D: I wish I could step outside my door and see nothing but rolling hills and blue sky. I wish my children could run and play in woods, just outside our back door.
Realization D: If I have countryside, I sacrifice community. I lose the ability to walk across the street to Lauren's, in my robe, at 7am on a Saturday morning to borrow syrup, because I started making pancakes before I realized we were out. I miss the opportunity to help Ashley J. with her boys when a migraine knocks her to her knees. I miss stepping outside on sunny summer afternoons and listening for which backyard the laughter is coming from, so that we can go join in.
I'll stop now, but do you see what I mean? I'm not sure how the next stage can get any better than where we are right now. I'm not sure that having the money to chase our dreams, is going to bring joy instead of headache. Now, our family does a lot for us--to make things easier, to provide those meals-out, those new outfits, and even television! I am ready to feel like we can afford to live just like we do now, without everybody feeling like they need to help us. Wouldn't it feel nice for Ashley to come to my closet for once, or to take my Dad out to eat, or to buy a present for Mrs. Linda that is at all comparable to the gifts she gives me? Yes. Money would help with those things. But the essence of our lives now, the simplicity...I'm mourning it. I'm afraid it can't get any better than this.