Life in the barn was very good- night and day, winter and summer, spring and fall, dull days and bright days. (E.B. White)
I found inspiration in the final pages of Charlotte's Web as we read it again this week. The passage continues . . . . It was the best place to be, thought Wilbur, this warm delicious cellar, with garrulous geese, the changing seasons, the heat of the sun, the passage of swallows, the nearness of rats, the sameness of sheep, the love of spiders, the smell of manure, and the glory of everything.
The first sentence made it onto the old fence board and sits in my city house for now to direct and color my perspective as we embark on this huge undertaking. I look forward to the day I can find the perfect spot for it in the barn. The passage makes me remember that the glory of life is in the ordinary, the day in and day out; that my attitude and perspective will determine what life in the tiny barn will be. And this morning Tom Petty reminded me, "there aint no easy way out." The barn maybe tiny and I may have to fight not to shut down at the thought of moving twice in a year, but yet, there is something special about a tiny barn filled with memories; about an acre with old oaks and boulders, about climbing children, and perhaps garrulous ducks and chattering chickens and wagging tails and wild doves.
It is also timely that there is currently somewhat of a small living spaces trend. At least in thought, people are quickened by the idea of boiling it all down to the essentials, bucking against materialism, only having and needing to clean and care for that which is truly loved or needed, being efficient and cost effective. I've been reading these blogs and googling the endless images of brilliant solutions for small living spaces. I want to only have those things I need or love. I want to be organized and focus on relationships and our fabulous outside space. I want to embrace the cozy, secure, intimate atmosphere, and the charm and natural character that the barn so easily fosters. But none of this comes naturally to my actual physical skills. And while an acre of trees and animals and nature is very well-suited to homeschooling, tripe-digit inside square footage does not mesh with my triple-digit book collection (that I do love). Yesterday the final line of advice on a blog I read was, "See it as an exciting challenge and not as an impending nightmare. It is what it is!"
It is a challenge. It is impending. "There is no easy way out;" isn't this true for everyone in one area or another at one time or another throughout life for anything that's actually of value? I will not go through life looking for the easy . . . . that's certainly not the thought pushing me towards homeschooling! I want the best. The barn property has become a family project and is hard work. The last few days I have loved watching my kids work hard and especially watching my oldest working alongside his dad. He is working hard, coming home exhausted, learning so much, and finding joy in seeing the progress. My natural self is overwhelmed and wants to dread. I have to make a concerted effort to focus my perspective rightly and meet this challenge with excitement. I thank God for technology and the motivation in Instagram-ing to record and easily see the fruits of the labor, for encouragement in the words of E.B. White read just when I needed to hear them, for Tom Petty showing up on my Pandora this morning, and for the numerous people who have chosen this path on purpose and shared advice and photos all over the Internet. I will choose to TASTE AND SEE THAT THE LORD IS GOOD.