I’m doing something hard. Sure, that’s subjective, “hard” can be many things and I have the recent perspective of knowing a young man who became paralyzed from the neck down after falling from his mountain bike.
That’s really hard.
But my life is the life I’m living, and I can only know what it is like from these shoes. In these shoes, I’m doing something hard.
I left our sweet home of so many years, it’s easier to say “since I was a teenager” than tell the number (the number is shockingly high).
That was hard.
We raised our babies there.
But I have had a dream of a little farm ever since I was a little girl. I’ve dreamed of, and asked God for, a “bit of earth.” And 3-1/2 years ago, He answered that by showing us our land and leading us to it.
It’s raw, it’s difficult, it’s North facing with not enough sunshine, it’s mountainous and rugged, but it’s a bit of earth. I’ve dreamed of restoring the soil in the areas where it needs restored, of beekeeping (once I learn how), of sheep and maybe goats, of chickens (always of chickens), and of as many of our family as possible living in little cabins all over it.
I’ve dreamed especially of the garden.
Year 1 went by, because we needed to increase money to be able to move.
Year 2 went by, because we needed to move things and to increase money so we could move.
Year 3 went by, mostly because of ill health, but also to increase money so we could move.
And when I saw year 4 looming, I finally said, eh. I’m not going to wait until I’m 62* to move. The Mr. can stay if he still thinks we need to increase money to move, but I need to get to work on the land, doggone it.
(*I’m not nearly 61, I’m just saying, I won’t wait until I’m 62).
And so I decided to leave once it was warm enough to survive off-grid without a heater or fire. I left my beautiful home in its full Spring glory on our beautiful coast for this rugged, difficult, untamed wilderness that is the place I feel I’m supposed to be, and is my bit of earth.
I left with dreams in my head, dreams on slips of paper in my pocket; dreams drawn on my iPad, dreams in my journals of the past several years. I packed up my chickens and my dog and two cats and the seeds I bought a year ago.
It’s only been a week and a half and, oh, hi, reality.
I’m having to go back to my just, pure, lovely roots just to keep my chin up. Chin up, Lori Jean, look at that bird. Chin up, Lori, see the way that tree bent its trunk to reach the sunshine? Look at the blue in that chicken’s feathers! That’ll lift your chin up!
But my eyes dart over to what’s not okay, and my ears hear what’s stressful – the tiny neighborhood that encircles my sunniest spot (a focal garden location) would be a lovely thing (I have visions of sharing eggs in baskets and passing green beans over the picket fence), but the reality is there are more dogs than humans and they will not stop barking at me peacefully gardening or at our blessedly calm and quiet canine, Riv. My eyes dart to the unfinished nesting boxes, the overwhelming boxes of stored precious things, to the dishes that need washing – after water is 1) collected from the stream, 2) boiled, and 3) handwashed before it’s dark out and I can no longer see to do the job.
So that’s where I am today: at that hard spot, where the eyes see things and the mind tells me it’s all impossible, yet my heart longs for it to be okay.
I’m not ungrateful. I’m just discouraged. Do you know it as well? The discouragement that comes from difficult dreams and expectations that weren’t necessarily “lofty,” but much anticipated. The discouragement that comes out of a wife who is 500 miles from her husband, and hasn’t known what to do without him since she was 18. Yes, there is God, but God created Eve for Adam and Adam for Eve and said, “It’s not good for man to be alone” when He did. So I think it’s okay to be a bit off without the hubs. Besides, he’s the dude who knows how to diplomatically talk to fussy neighbors who don’t appreciate my bug-patrolling fowl. He’s the half of the union who is better with strangers. He’s the one who knows how to build a second chicken pen deeper in the woods. And he’s the guy who has been my friend for decades. I could sure use a friend right now. Moving to a county full of strangers is difficult indeed.
If you’re going through something difficult right now, I don’t have encouragement for you today, but I do have solidarity.
I hope it helps you to know that.