Thursday, July 2, 2009

Growing Pains

I am realizing it is going to take me possibly a number of years to move to the country. It’s not simply a move in location. It’s a move in mindset. It’s a move in lifestyle. It involves the clearing of the financial arteries, which have been collecting the cholesterol of debt, and the healing of the cancers of paycheck-to-paycheck living and the rapid acquisition of liabilities. How often I have lamented in this time of uncertainty, “If only I did not have a house payment!” The more I have pondered the move before us, I realize that the geography really has little to do with living my life according to my values. To tell the absolute truth, I would rather live in a densely populated area because I am a supremely social creature. The location in a rural area has more to do with the affordability of land than it does a desire to “get away from it all.” The real move is made in the mind. It is a move away from pride into humility. It is a move away from selfishness toward consciousness of and concern over the effects of my actions. It is a move away from the isolationism resultant from the race to acquire goods and prestige into an awareness that our families, our communities, and our fellow man are the true riches in life. As I have been drawn to embrace this mental shift, I have come to realize that I can not focus on what I believe to be the true riches in life because I have obligated myself to go to work to repay debts. I have knavishly clamored to be brought down in chains in exchange for possession of an item that caused my intemperate heart to race with delight. Now, in the depths of humility, I realize what I should have been doing with my time, my money, my education, and my body for the last 15 years. If I am to escape from debt and live a self-sufficient lifestyle, I must reject the systems of thought and action that have been presented to me by the world I grew up in. I must now work for only those possessions that truly make a difference in my life and my children’s lives: a home, a car, an education of knowledge, service, work, art, self-reliance, temperance, patience, nature, family, God, and an understanding of the behavior of humankind. What else in life is needed to bring happiness? And which of these of a necessity requires merciless debt if one is educated and willing to work from an early age?

I am angry. I was not educated properly in my youth. As a young child, I witnessed the world embrace the credit card, the 3% down payment on a house, the 0% down payment, the exponential growth in distribution of reading material, movies, music, and television shows unfit for consumption by the human mind. Now as a father and husband, I have to figure out how to undo the damage of years of wanting the wrong things and get my life on track I can begin to enjoy the true riches that Heavenly Father sent me here to enjoy and to help others enjoy.

I am angry at the world’s ways. But I am thankful that God has a way and that it is never too late to begin keeping that way.

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