I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright…I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live – that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.Dan Millman
I’ve been absent for a while.
Not just from writing blog posts; it runs deeper than that.
This last season started out to be very promising. Christine and I were both very optimistic for what we both hoped would be our best season yet. And it was a big year for us. But, I fell off the path along the way. I stumbled. I faltered. And I almost lost my way.
I cannot put a finger on what exactly derailed me this year. I cannot tell you what subtle shift threw me off course. There may be a few things I could point to – another round of COVID running through the homestead and setting us back a week early in the season, the financial stress of feeding the additional animals we took on this year, or maybe just the unforeseen calamities that befell us during the season.
Whatever it was, the funk had me on the ropes. There were times I considered throwing in the towel. I threw my defenses up. I built my walls and I sat steadfastly behind them.
That’s my fatal flaw.
I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. And I believe that I must bear my burden alone. At those times when I should most reach out to ask for help – or even just accept the helping hand that is offered – I double down on my theory that I am an island.
But I cannot do that.
And we cannot do that.
Holding up and going it alone is not the answer to life’s problems. We need to build community. Local community. Community that lifts and supports us. And it starts with ourselves and the people around us.
But before we can build community, we need to learn how to live the simple and uncomplicated life that we want. Because no matter how much we may think we want that life, we still have to learn how to live it. We need to master the disciplines and ways of seeing the world that lead us to the life we want to live.
We’ve been led to lead our lives competitively. To keep up with the Jones’ and to somehow “win” at life. But what does that actually get us? It gets us sitting in debt with the newest automobile, the biggest large screen TV, and the largest McMansion we can find to separate ourselves from everyone else not “winning” at the game of life.
We isolate ourselves in our homes, watch our TVs, and hope no one knows we can barely afford the car in the driveway; much less the house and driveway itself. We hide ourselves behind our things, and the better our things the better we hope we appear.
We aim to broadcast “normal” to all those around us. Struggling, sad, or afraid are not options we consider. Yet how can we get help if we cannot admit we struggle? How can we be happy when we cannot admit we are sad? How can we build courage when we cannot admit we are afraid?
Christine and I have chosen the homesteading life for ourselves, and it is a rewarding life indeed. But it is not an easy life. The wins are not guaranteed and the losses can weigh heavy at times. It takes discipline to be grateful for what we have, live in the present, and not want for more than we need.
We are far from mastering a simple, happy, and uncomplicated life. But we try to move closer to that goal everyday. And we know we have to support each other in that goal.
We have to show love and support each day in our homestead to grow our family. So we practice at home.
We have to show love and support each day in our community to grow our tribe. So we open ourselves up to our community in sharing our daily lives and we share in the lives of others in our community.
And we have to show love and support each day in our country to realize a better tomorrow for us all. Because a life of quality worth living is not a human birthright, but rather a triumph of the spirit.
Therefore, I can no longer be absent.
Rather, I need to be ready and present.
For myself, for my family, and for my community.
I need a revival of the spirit to stir my soul.