I have mentioned my mental note cards laid out, all a mess, before me these days. Being a researcher and writer by nature, when I set my mind to planning the future, it usually involves notes, stickies, diagrams, mental maps, and vivid illustrations in my mind. I relish the moments of far away thoughts and day dreams of what adventures may yet come. I even enjoy looking back and embracing the dreams that have already slipped past, unfulfilled. A good deal of the pleasure is in the moments of wild adventure it allows me during every day life.
C.S. Lewis said, “You can make anything by writing.” His worlds hold many of my most precious memories of time with my family, growing up.
My mother says, “You can draw a picture of anything.” She is usually referring to the perfectly drawn illustrations of clothing patterns, which has always amused me, but I have found that it applies in many areas of life.
At this moment, we have been plucked from the life that we thought we would lead forever. Through a journey that has been painful and scary, and which is still not looking as though it will end very soon, we have found ourselves with what seems to be a blank book. A pick-your-ending story…
It is impossible to say how life will turn out from here, but for a moment…for right now…we have the freedom to dream.
So, what do I see as our ideal life, you may ask? Well, since I can draw you a mental image – a story – of anything…let me take you on a little journey.
There are two totally different paths that I love to meander down.
One of them leads to a little farm, surrounded by little red and brown barns. We have our two beautiful children, who are now a little bit older, and their two younger siblings. I’m voting for twins so I can get a two for one pregnancy deal – but they need to be one of each gender…you know, like the Boxcar children, or the Pevensies of Narnia fame. If you are going to solve mysteries and go on grand adventures together, there just need to be two of each. Besides, the two we have are so incredible, four would be even better, right!?!?!
We would continue to homeschool, but in a fun and real life way – like raising random baby farm animals and making our own wool yarn. We’d make food prep into science experiments, and spend afternoons riding horses in the woods behind our house. They would want me to hang out with them, of course, because I’d be cool like that. 😉 We would learn archery, and survival skills – just for the fun of it, and we would cultivate our own organic food to learn about healthy living.
We would breed golden retriever puppies to be trained as assistance dogs, and have a relatively constant supply of happy, fluffy, rambunctious yellow puppies flopping around the house and fields. Gypsy, my parents’ border collie would come and retire on our farm in her old age – you know, so she could herd the puppies and little chickens and ducks.
We’d be happy there. It would have to not be an old farmhouse, though, because…well…those creep me out. But it would definitely have old world charm, in a new, non creepy way.
If we don’t do that, which I must say, it is highly unlikely that will ever happen, maybe we will be world travelers…
We could save money over several years, living with family members (check!) and hopefully save them money by contributing to all expenses (working on it!). Matt could move up in his job and take a position that allows travel, and we could save up his frequent flier miles to travel the world. We’d have to stop with just the two kids, though, and Hazel the wonderdog probably would only get to go on adventures that we could drive to.
Since we would be homeschooling, the kids could learn about history while on grand adventures, aiding their love of life long learning and curiosity. They would learn different cultures and appreciate more deeply the value of all human life, rather than only that which is familiar to them. We could also learn to be ninjas. That’s for Hadley. You just never know when you might need some mad ninja skills while back packing across Europe. 😉
Of course, now we have found out that I might just fall over dead at any moment, but – as the doctors say – I’ll probably be fine. 😉 I have also come to appreciate the fact that much of the joy is in the experience of real daily life. The right now. We don’t know what tomorrow will hold, and planning or worrying won’t do a lot to change the uncontrollable unknown. When things don’t go as planned, like job loss – or unexpected illnesses – or any other event that seems to be mucking up our plans…our real life…I think of this:
The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s “own” or “real” life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day; what one calls ones’ ’‘real life” is a phantom of one’s own imagination. –C.S. Lewis
And I will leave you with a thought from my dad, throughout my life:
This is it, kid. This is the fun part.