A few weeks ago, I realized that my family is living in survival mode.
Despite our fairly stable financial means and Ben’s fortune to have a job, we have slipped into a very stale, conservative lifestyle. We are living to survive and that’s boring.
I observed us one Saturday morning busying ourselves to keep things functioning because, “we don’t want to spend money in times like this.” So, we’ve taken on a lot of Do-It-Yourself projects – to save money and maintain. In this spirit, I have begun repainting our old kitchen cabinets, I’ve planted food in our front yard where the sun is best, I often contemplate how I will ever slaughter our chickens when the time comes to eat them and Ben does endless maintenance on our old cars to keep them on the road (lately, to keep the air condition working). Making my own gentle soaps because my son has eczema. Whenever I want a book, I check http://www.paperbackswap.com/ first, the local library second, and if those don’t pan out, I put the book on my waiting list at Amazon.
Ultimately, this mentality has taken a toll on our travel, too.
“We shouldn’t spend a penny on such pleasures, now. Maybe later,” is what we’ve rehearsed.
I understand that all these things and more are what some call frugal, simple living. We’ve been called Green when visitors see our urban homestead for instance, but I’ve noticed that what began as a hobby, a love of nature and passing that along to my children, has become a chore.
We are spending our weekends taking care of responsibilities of one form or another. Looking for parts, fixing leaks, making lists, moving soil, cleaning the coop, scraping paint, cleaning gutters, organizing papers, looking for papers, preparing for church, and on and on and on.
My weekdays are spent trying to survive Ben’s new long hours at work, and Ben’s surviving his new long hours away from home.
Thankfully, I’d like to believe, that the kids are learning through it all and thriving. They are generally right by our side while we work – learning, listening and playing.
However, Ben and I have agreed to set aside Saturday as “family day”, and make it so, not just a cliché. We want to recapture the awe in living together – the way God desires us to live.
Heck, we might even dedicate the whole weekend to family fun and adventure. On a shoestring of course.