Friday, December 12, 2008

gratitude

i've discovered the secret of long term happiness and it is being intensely and sincerely grateful for what you have right now and not looking towards the future to fill any void. i seriously wish this part of my life would last forever. to be infinitely pulled to snuggle on the couch with my son, to have a wee toddler head snoring in the crook of my arm, flour eternally puffing off my clothes from baking, even the "bad" isn't bad when i think about these kinds of things.

a year ago i was depressed thinking about the proposal that david has set out before me - to sell our home (our first home that we scrimped and saved for) so that he could go back to school (again) and pursue a different degree, one that would be more fulfilling. but all i felt was the doom of losing what felt to me like the first space in the world that i had ever put my stamp on, where i felt a sense of dominion over, a deeply personal space in so many ways not to mention where our daughter was born. when i reread my entries from them i sound so dishearted, so pulled in paradoxical directions. i felt God pulling us into a spirit of valuing and living out a communal life. i thought that meant sharing our home with another couple/friends so when david pushed the idea of living with either of our sets of parents it didn't ring true to me. i deeply love my parents and my in laws, not saying anything to the contrary, just saying that what i felt and what he was proposing did not in my spirit feel like the right move. what i know now and did not know then, was that we were being prepared for a spirit of community not commune-ity. we engage with our friends and friends of friends, heck with strangers now in ways that we did not then. basically we feel the suburbs beat the charity and community out of us.

we're living tight now, on less than $25K a year, which includes generous support from david's parents to help him through school financially. (hi, best in laws ever!) but just like the loaves and the fishes somehow we are never in need, and our money always exceeds our need, we are not want for anything. sure my car has paint flaking in a hundred directions but you know, it runs well and we have no car payment. we stretch our dollar somehow without skimping on things that are vitally important to us. our bills are paid on time, we are healthy, and our bellies are filled with food (don't begrudge me a bag of doritos or david his ice cream!) i do not know how this happens but i feel deprived of nothing whatsoever in this world. i feel a little weird? feeling that way living in a country of "i want it all and i want it now!" im not better than people who aren't happy with where they are, im just saying that here and now i wish this would last forever. even our little apartment. if it had three bedrooms i'd stay here forever. the Lord has over the course of the year been faithful in developing in me a new dream for my life. it no longer holds sway with me whether or not i own a home for the rest of my life, which is something i previously always associated with Being An Adult. silly to admit but true. now my points of arrival are much more loose and im still praying for those points to be completely dissolved into nothingness.

david and i sat on the couch last night and i admitted that i was kind of scared for him to finish college. you know in like 4-5 yrs? haha. im scared a little because he's probably going to make some "actual money". i mean i dont think we'll go buck nutty or sell our souls to The Man or anything but well, we've never been tested in this arena. we've kinda been on a monetary "hamburger helper diet" and what happens when we're making "steaks"? poor example. i don't want to lose something that i feel like we're starting to understand about ourselves, about our life, about what we feel matters most.

anyways, i made this a year ago and it still invokes the same feeling of being happy with my life.




btw im currently noming on some tuscan pasta. get on the bus folks, it is sooo good.

11 comments:

kasandora said...

that video made me sob....

Anonymous said...

Me, too and I've seen it a dozen times-I love you my sweet, more each day-Jane A

Anonymous said...

I so get what you are saying. My hubby went back to Nursing school when our DD was a baby. While he was in the middle of his hardest semester we had a baby prematurely and had to sell our teeny-tiny house so that we could afford life and he could finish school. We were barely making $18K a month! I have no idea how we did it. But looking back...those were the best of times and the worst of times!

Kristin said...

I want to jump into your video and live there. It is just so magical and happy. And your children are so perfectly beautiful!

I think there is a whole lot to be said for living on next to nothing and being happy. There is so much freedom in living simply and not getting caught up with money and things! :) Thanks for the great post.

Anonymous said...

Doh, meant to say 18K a YEAR in my previous comment...oh to make 18K a month...hmmm...that might go to my head. lol ;)

JVdoubledown said...

Wow. I've been lurking for a while now, but really had to comment on that video. Absolutely beautiful. That's what it's all about!

The Aspenberg Family said...

Jenny! Thank you so much for your post on just being happy and content in our lives right now!! It really made me stop and be truly grateful for today! Even as my poor hubby lays upstairs in bed from a back being thrown out of wack, but I'm thankful that the Lord is here with us!! Anyways, your video was soo precious!! Thank you again for your poast!

Nathan Morton said...

This entry really resonates with me (and our life as graduate student-parents, living in a two-bedroom apartment and happier than we've ever been!) I gave birth to Noam in our little two-room apartment and that was around the time I starting becoming more conscious of how materialistic some conceptions of parenthood are! Anyway, is there a way to get this public journal to feed to my livejournal page? I'm friends with Robina, Lauren (___beep) and some others. I don't want to pry into your private journal but dang do I wish I could get this one to feed on over there!
-Lenore (DeBok)

meridith said...

i love this post so much it inspired me to write one of my own...i quoted you. oh yeah and that pasta....seriously!

Mrs. Motley said...

I have to come out of lurk-dom to say that we are going through a really rough time right now (financially, among other things, but the money thing is what makes everything else feel unbearable) and your last couple posts are helping me keep on keepin' on. I have read them over a few times and watched your sweet video more than once; it's like therapy for me. So thank you. You and your family are an inspiration. :-)

jenny mae. said...

anonymous - i was gonna say. uhh if you can't make it on $18k a month you might have a spending problem :)


lenore i've never set up a feed on lj. though i do know that it can be done. i think if you search the help/faq section it will help you figure out how to submit a request for a feed.

meridith - every time i make this pasta i think of you of course!