Whatever it is, this vacation has not been revitalizing in the least. I have loved seeing so much family, but we've been non-stop in the car for three days and really aren't done yet. The longer we stay away from family, however, the stronger the sense of being an outsider fills me. Yet, at the same time, I cannot shake the solid truth that this community in which my parents have been a part for 40 years helped to form exactly the person I have become.
The mission for which I departed 15 years ago today is largely responsible too.
I think the mission might be part of the conflict. For twenty-one years I lived in the same community, surrounded by people who did the same. Even at college I was close to my extended family. Generation after generation with little alteration from the ones before. I suppose that I expected to do the same. Settle close to parents. Visit on Sundays. Have my own children grow up around their cousins doing the things that kids in a certain social strata are expected to do. Dance lessons. Sports. Church. I suppose. Though I think even from a young age I felt vaguely dissatisfied and restless with the cliche.
Exit a woman no longer content with the ordinary.
In the next few years it will be important for us to make some decisions because Jedi Knight is getting older, and if Utah has taught me anything this time around, it is that putting down some roots is important. Will we stay put, accepting the economic downturn and the spiritual knowledge given to Plantboy just a few weeks before taking his job in Eugene that the Church in Oregon needed us? Will we trust the Lord enough that our unique little boys will be able to make it in schools where there are the merest handful of LDS kids? Am I willing to sacrifice the kind of childhood I had for one of greater opposition that might make them powerful men? Or will we move closer to family for an idyllic support system that might only be in my head? Will we start over again, economically speaking, in our forties, and be strong enough not to care that we live in a small house that is decidedly in the valley and not on the hill? Do we move where there are more members of the church so that we can slip into blissful anonymity because couples like us abound? Do we stay put because we have a much greater capacity to serve where we are?
I feel so weak right now, and not at all up to the task of navigating my dear little mannies through the next phase we are now entering. But I have to be. There is no one else.
Tonight I was driving straight west from my brother's house to get back to my parents' house when I saw the most gorgeous sunset I've seen for years. My emotions were full as I looked at the scene. My heart was touched at the impression of the Spirit reminding me that God loves me immensely, but that most of my own human accomplishments will be weak and frail compared to what God can do. I felt enormously loved and properly humbled at the same time.
O God, Thou hast always shown us the way forward now. Please see fit to do so again. And if it is the direction I begin to think it will be, then please, O Lord, grant us the strength to hold our family together and to sacrifice cheerfully whatever Thou asks.