Tuesday, February 1, 2011
In Response to the Grass being Greener
Writer's Note: Please read the following post seeing me sitting relaxed over a cup of coffee since e-communication is notoriously awful at conveying body language and tone of voice. Also think of this post as an FAQ response.
It's easy to fantasize that the grass is greener in another field but, as someone who was raised in Western PA and has spent 13 years in Colorado, let me assure you that the grass is indeed NOT greener, just different. And I ask you to stop with the comments about your 'six months of winter' - which is technically untrue. Let me share a hard truth: such exaggerations are nothing more than lies that we continually tell ourselves to fertilize our own discontent. Gardens are planted in Pennsylvania while I am still shoveling a foot of snow and my plants are frozen through while ya'll are picking the last of the harvest. In the Rockies we get our first snow by Labor Day (you know, the "official" end of summer in PA) and on Memorial Day we are still brushing snow from our cars while you are having picnics.
Yes, it will be cold, a damp cold, in winter in PA. A winter that is actually of a natural, normal, four-season duration.
Yes, there will be humidity and bug activity in the summer. Because there is actually enough moisture to grow things.
If you live in Pennsylvania, try to remember that where you live is so fertile and beautiful that many people lost their lives fighting over it upon its discovery. I have come to appreciate where I lived so much more thoroughly by not living there. You will never convince me I'm crazy to move back. Colorado, I have come to realize, is a place of unbelievable beauty. The vistas are awe inspiring. God's creativity is displayed in glorious ways. If you've seen my photos or heard my ravings of how great Colorado is - it's true. It's all true. And it all comes with a price. Yes, Colorado has one of the highest numbers of sunny days per year. Which is because essentially most of the state is one massive desert of differing elevations. You are as likely to find cactus as to see the pinion and lodge pole. If you live in a low enough elevation to have any sort of growing season, then the only thing you are lacking is water. And, if your water restrictions are loose enough, you may be able to water your plants enough to get flowers or veggies to grow. Unless one of the typical watering bans is in place before the snowmelt is complete because of shortages of water.
In Pennsylvania we anticipate having our own chickens, a beef cow or two, and gardens. For our lifestyle, which we've been living in such adverse conditions, we will think we have arrived in paradise. By being debt free and growing much of what we need, our necessary income requirements will be quite low. And we hope to be able to provide that with our own "employment". Rather than hurry off every day to jobs to make enough to continue our existence in a land of inflated values and pretty scenes, we see ourselves growing community, providing hospitality and refuge to the weary, reaching out to others in brotherly love, sharing our knowledge and skills, and being reunited with family.
Everything we've been doing, as crazy as it may look to some, we believe has been God-directed. Bathed in prayer and waiting. We have felt led the whole way through this process which started long before our home went on the market. And while change is hard. While there are many lovely things to recommend Colorado. While Kent has a great job. While people call us crazy. We have had an unshakeable conviction and peace that we are on the right path.
When I left Pennsylvania, even though it was a very difficult time in my life, it was not because I couldn't wait to get away. While I did not fully appreciate it, I was loathe to leave it. But I was open to God's leading and took a huge leap of faith. And God has brought blessings to my life which I would not otherwise have experienced. I have continued to grow a deep, lifelong love and friendship with my sister. I have seen God continue to provide for my needs in new and different ways. I have met and married a wonderful man of God. I have had the opportunity to experience this beautiful place and develop a true appreciation for what I left behind. Now I feel led to take that leap of faith in the other direction. Who knows what blessings await?
Honestly, as I contemplate our coming move back East, the thing I most do not look forward to is the negativity of people who call us crazy. So for you this is my explanation of why and how we have come to the point of looking forward to living in such a "terrible" place where: rain waters a fertile land; apple trees pop up regularly along country roads; cattle graze contentedly; trees blaze orange and red in the autumn; winter snows replenish the ground and the cold beats back the insects for another year; rivers, streams and creeks are abundant; plants break forth from the ground at every opportunity; family is waiting for us; old friends as treasured as family await us; the hard work of living on the land is rewarded in due season; helping your neighbor is still valued; history is displayed in the architecture; having a cup of coffee and some fresh baked goodie from your oven with your friend or neighbor doesn't require weeks of planning on Blackberries; every community, no matter how small, seems to have at least one church; and produce is sold from stands and yards at regular intervals.
And where I can remind you, my friend, who thinks I'm leaving paradise, that you live in a type of paradise of your own.
Maybe as you witness my own excitement and appreciation, you will find a little for yourself, too.