Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This is hard.

I remember a Friends episode where Chandler had this really funny line where he pointed to one side of himself and said, "Rock."  Then, he pointed to the other side of himself and said, "hard place."  Then he pointed to the middle of the two sides and said, "me."  It was a true Chandler moment in the way he delivered that line, it makes me giggle just thinking of it now.

But, I am living the Rock.  Hard place.  Me.  life right now and there is nothing funny about it.  We have been long praying as a family about what it could look like for us to simplify.  To live more simply.  To live on a smaller budget.  To live at a slower pace.  For a while it looked like we may move away from the Southern California area that we know and love to find this "simplicity".  We visited Austin, Tx.  We liked Austin, TX.  We thought that Austin could be the answer to our question of "How to find simplicity?"  

Oh boy, were we wrong.  We are still here and we are definitely drawing nearer to what looks like simplicity.  But, it is a totally different shape and form than I imagined in my mind.  I was picturing simplicity as a big house with lots of space for my dreamy craft room and play room and big back yard with a prairie full of flowers and neighbors who know and love me .... yadda yadda.  I love homes!  I am a true Home-Maker.  I skip from the mail box to the kitchen on the day that my home magazines arrive.  I sit on the couch during quiet time with my cup of tea and read every page, pulling out pages that give me inspiration for my current home, or for any future home I may ever have.  I love hosting parties and throwing showers for people in my home.  So, the big home in Austin with the more simple mortgage was seeming pretty lovely.

What I can see now is that God has been leading us on a very long journey.  He has placed these desires in our hearts for... a slower pace ... knowing our neighbors ... living within our means ... 

Not only did He place these desires on our hearts, but He began to shake things up a bit for us in a way that has made it quite uncomfortable.  My husband lost a significant chunk of monthly income.  The housing market (where we own TWO homes) has crashed and caused us to quickly respond by trying to sell both of our homes (that I have poured by heart and soul into creating) for less than they are worth.

We are about a week and a half away from moving out of our home into a rental.  A small rental.  With two bedrooms.  My kids are going to share a room and my "dreamy Austin craft room" will be relegated to a corner of the garage.  My dreamy prairie of a back yard is soon to be a small courtyard patio with a lot of dirt just waiting for me to cultivate.  

But, it is simple.  It is what we can afford.  My kids are really excited about sharing a room.  We will be 3 streets away from our dearest friends in the whole world.  There is a green belt less than 100 yards from our front door with ample prairie-ish space for the kids to run and play and roll down hills.  We are cleaning out our home and pairing down to the stuff we really need. Packing only the items that mean something to us.

And, though I can see that the very hand of God is leading us down this path, it is a very Rock. Hard place.  Me. moment.  It feels a bit like part of me is being stripped away.  I realize it is the part of me that places identity in my stuff, in how my home appears, and in the goal of being a good steward.  It feels kind of foolish to be in the position that we are in.  Kind of humiliating.  It is all fun and games to sell your home to move to something bigger, better, far away and exciting.  It is not as much fun to sell your home to move into a smaller, older, less better kind of place.  I have moments where I cannot stop the tears from falling because it is a bit painful.  I am mourning the loss of our home, and the loss of the dream of the beautiful family in the beautiful house.  But, deep, deep down, I feel this sense of peace.  This true peace in my core and I know that this is where we are supposed to be.  That this is what it looks like to have my prayers answered.  That this is what it looks like to learn to be thankful.  

And, watching it all through my kids eyes brings me back to reality.  They do not care about which house is theirs, and whether or not the kitchen cabinets are white or 80's oak colored. What they care about is the fact that we are together, that they are together, and that their blankies are coming with us.  
And the ponies.  And the toy cars.

A beautiful family in the midst of beautiful life.


Simplicity.

3 comments:

Kristen said...

Ali - reading this my heart breaks for you a bit. But you do have a beautiful family and a beautiful life, and no matter where you live, that will be true. Hugs to you, my friend.

nicole viola said...

Ali, Now that we have commented on each other's blogs, I feel like we're true blogging buddies. :)
Thank you for your thoughts on this... I've been exploring this idea of simplicity in my head & heart and it's cool to see how it plays out for you. Even though it's so hard right now, I'm excited to see how God uses this transformation in your life!

Heather of the EO said...

I finally clicked on your name on the Mama Manifesto dashboard thing you get to from comments. I've been wondering if you have your own blog outside of MM. YOU DO!

I just have to say how much this post resonates with me! God has been doing much the same here with us. We need to down-size for finanacial purposes and I have even started having a DESIRE to do just that. To live simply in the sense of smaller space, less stuff, and giving up my dream of the cottage living house-not that I'll never have that, but for now maybe it isn't what we need. Anyway, I hope things are going well for you in your new smaller home.
Thank you so much for all your kind words on my blog. I just love how you think. I hope I get to meet you Mamas someday in real life!
Heather

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