Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Would-be Life


Deep sleep and inspirational dreams give way to chirping birds and children’s whispers. Opening my eyes, I’m greeted by shadows of trees dancing on the tent around me. The crackling of a fire means that coffee is brewing and breakfast will soon be on its way.

Emerging from the tent, I’m welcomed by blue skies, a gentle breeze, and my husband who awoke early to the alarm of a whippoorwill call.

Sitting by the fire, I think about the day ahead of me – Bible study, devotions, lunch, the beach, kid craft or music time, dinner, and more fun. All within walking distance – and I can actually walk!

By the end of the day, I’m tired, but not exhausted. After getting the kids to bed, I sit by the fire with my husband and we talk – about the day, the people, about life. As the fire dies down, I crawl into bed, reading a bit by flashlight before drifting easily off to sleep.

This is the life!



Fractured sleep and crazy dreams give way to pain and a nagging alarm. Opening my eyes, I’m greeted by baskets of laundry that need to be sorted, a floor that needs to be vacuumed, and children’s requests to be entertained. The time on the clock signals that there’s not enough time for breakfast if I want to complete my errands before my husband goes to work. 

Emerging from my bed, I’m greeted by the incessant noise of the air conditioner, and a husband who is kind enough to encourage me to run errands without children.

Sitting in the car, I think about the day ahead of me – grocery store, thrift shop, home, coffee, lunch for the kids, the CSA, dinner, and a 7pm meeting. Nowhere I’d want to walk to – especially not on pavement battling traffic - and especially not after having to do battle with the stairs and steep driveway just to get to and from the car.

By the end of the day I’m utterly exhausted. After getting the kids to bed, I’m too tired to do much at all, and by the time my husband gets home, I’m too mentally tired for much conversation. I crawl into bed, tossing and turning until my muscles stop spasming and my brain quiets down enough for me to sleep.

What kind of life is this?

Transitioning from vacation life to home life isn’t easy. Transitioning from a place that feels like home, that centers me spiritually, where I feel more connected to nature, to the people around me, and to my family, is especially difficult.  There is a peace I find at Calumet that I haven't found anywhere else. Life is different there. My focus is different there. Things are simpler there. Jim and I are better there. I’m better there.

There are no stairs there to kill my body before the day even starts. Errands can wait until the afternoon - there is no morning rush to get things done. There is fresh air, good food, peaceful sleep, daily opportunities to grow spiritually, a wonderful sense of community, and a wonderful balance of activity and rest. We have what we need there ... clothes, food, shelter, a few good books, several fun games, friends, and family. There is no perpetual asking for or thinking about screen time, although both computer with internet and tvs are available.

We come back here to STUFF. A house full of stuff. Stuff to clean. Stuff to do. Stuff to pay for. Stuff to get rid of. Stuff that distracts us from what's important.

Here, our world shrinks to the size of our house, with forays out into other parts of the world. There, we are part of the world around us.

What if we lived with only those things we found important at camp? What if we (gasp) turned off the air conditioner (ok…maybe just at night) and opened the windows? What if we spent more time outside than we did inside? What if we created an environment here that helps us feel like we did there?

That would be the life!

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