A House with a Picket Fence

Well, my husband and I just returned from our first family vacation.  Since we upped and moved right after we got married and live 6-9 hours away from our parents, our vacation consisted of a tour of the wonderful state of Iowa to cram a year’s worth of visiting to friends and family into a week’s time (you’re jealous, I can tell).  Most of the visits with friends were mainly happy and excited but sometimes these visits leave a tinge of many emotions: confusion, sadness, and even a little bit of envy.  Nothing is static, everything obviously has to change, but when I’m no longer there to witness the changes it’s a little more difficult to take in.  I have some friends still trying to find a job they want to keep, I have some friends happily working in a job that not only pays the bills but also provides some benefits, and I have some friends who are going to graduate soon and have brilliant jobs doing something they love.  I am happy for them, really I am, but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live their lives for a day.

However, the most difficult part for me was not visiting friends but seeing old acquaintances.  You know, people who graduated high school the same year I did, people I loosely know because they are friends with so-and-so, people I see very rarely and whose daily existence rarely enters my mind.  Yet when we meet after so many years, the desire to make it seem like I’m doing great and living up to my expectations is tantamount.  It’s difficult to explain what my husband is doing and how it is affecting my life.  It’s difficult to explain how our lives are on hold while T. finishes school.  It’s difficult to explain the constant moving and the lack of career.  However, it’s most difficult when I hear of my former classmates buying houses.

Something about home ownership in my mind seems almost like the the point of perfection in the adult world.  When you buy a house, you’ve established yourself.  You have staked your claim in a neighborhood and show that you have both money and the intention of staying.  It’s the backdrop for the picturesque life.  Now, I’ve read and heard about people my age buying houses and how they often really can’t afford them.  They go into debt like crazy because they want what they parents have, even though it took their parents decades to get to that point.  I know even if T. wasn’t at the seminary we wouldn’t be buying a house yet because that wouldn’t be financially responsible for us, but since when have desires been logical?  Perhaps the desire isn’t so much for ownership as it is the stability–a longing for the ability to stay somewhere longer than two years.

Now I could go into an optimistic talk about taking comfort in God and having patience, blah, blah, blah, but I’m not.  I’ve heard enough people tell me that and I’ve told enough people that.  However, I do take comfort in routines–work (okay, the idea that I’m working, not so much the actual job), eating dinner with my husband, spending time with him in the evenings.  I take comfort that this is my life and even though it’s difficult to explain and lacks the picturesque house, it’s still where I’m supposed to be.  Likewise, the future is wildly unknown for anything to happen to us–perhaps someday we’ll even own a home.



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