I've finally done the thing I've talked about for four years; I've left Fresno. So for those of you who have fantasized about quitting your job, packing up your things, and leaving without any "justifiable", "responsible", "adult" reason... read on and do so vicariously.Yes, I'm in a new city. I have exactly three friends, a roof over my head, and no job. I did this on purpose because I felt I was supposed to come up without planning too much. Maybe this was a mistake; I thought I heard God, but maybe I was hallucinating. I've done that before.
I've been in Redding for one week, today. Within these seven days I have experienced a full array of emotions ranging from jubilance, anticipation, and triumph to regret, angst, paranoia, depression, and fear. I have, in the past, encouraged so many people to do exactly what I am now doing... embarking on a new journey with very little in the way of security. It is a test of my faith, and a very arduous one. I'm not sure why it's so difficult for me. I remind myself, as I did my friends, that security is a human invention, not found in nature. Therefore, I conclude, security is overrated. But I don't fully believe this, or I wouldn't have to remind myself so often. A girlfriend recently asked me how I am faring, and if I am enjoying myself so far. I told her that I'm enjoying it as much as I can enjoy it when I'm staving off sheer unemployed panic. Another wise friend reminded me that asking God to "give us this day our daily bread" wouldn't be as meaningful if we had a months supply in our freezer. I am not asking anyone to feel sorry for me; I chose this. I knew what I was getting into. But enlisting in the military doesn't remove your right to be afraid in the middle of a conflict. However, during my free time (which is all the time), I've had my senses awakened to the things that I miss when I'm on the hamster wheel of means-to-an-end employment. For example, I've missed almost every sunset for the last four years. I knew it was happening, but the lack of windows in the restaurant meant that it was implied, never enjoyed. Now I've the luxury of enjoying each sunset, every night since I moved. It may not be a luxury to some, but luxury is a relative term, as is wealth. Which is why I tend to be leery of arguments that pit the rich against the poor; there are few terms with such volatile and capricious definitions. What does it mean to be rich? To be poor? You will get a different answer from everyone you ask.
I have had the freedom to sit and ponder the things I am grateful for, and tearfully amazed at how large the list becomes as I think more and more. The things I am grateful for, some may dismiss as ridiculous. But that's the beauty of it. I hope to find more things to add to the list each day, and to update it consistently. I encourage you to make a list of your own. I will keep it at 15 items for today.
The List (in no particular order)
1) My immediate family. I could create an entire list of reasons why I love them and feel so blessed to have them. We laugh more and fight less than many families I've seen, and even when fighting, we end up laughing. I genuinely like them and enjoy their company and their insights. I could go on and on and it would just be upsetting to you, and you'd end up jealous and cranky.
2) A roof over my head
3) Mature trees in my neighborhood. How amazing to look out my window and see a skyline silhouetted with tall, strong, beautifully stark trees that have no leaves to hide their lines.
4) Sara Groves. Her music is the soundtrack of the life I've pictured for myself in my future. Her voice makes me happy. It hasn't made sense to anyone else I try to explain it to, but perhaps there is someone whose voice accompanies the fanciful imaginings you entertain of future you, moving through your future life in whatever home future you lives in (in my case, there are various scenes involving Stars Hollow, Connecticut, and London... we'll see how those pan out considering one doesn't exist outside a lot in Studio City)
5) GOOD coffee. This is relative. But I'll say that in my vast coffee experimentation, there are several disappointments that highlight how grateful I am to have coffee I love.
6) Being able to FIND the coffee I love, thus far, in every city...
7) Almond joy coffee creamer. You don't like it? More for me.
8) My Bodum French Press, 12 cup.
9) Electricity to power the microwave I inevitably need when I can't finish my 96 oz. of coffee while it's hot.
10) My iPhone. My favourite toy I purchased for myself within the last year. This kind of technology, literally at my fingertips, will probably at some point become detrimental but for now I enjoy knowing the weather in every city I've ever loved.
11) My 15" Macbook Pro laptop. I worked so hard for this baby.
12) Spotify: the ability to listen to (virtually) any music I could ever want, whenever, can't be overappreciated.
13) My car, which works, despite her incessantly blinking "Check Engine" light. I have been teased for owning her, but I don't care! She is like an old faithful dog. Maybe ugly, maybe not in the best condition, but she keeps working for me. Except for the sun roof which leaks. That's hilarious though. And hey, its rain. Rains good. And might I add that this move was sponsored in part by Not Having A Car Payment.
14) Hot water. Can we all agree to be thankful for this? Let's imagine a world without hot water. Cold showers for everyone. We'd all be pissed off and freezing at the beginning of each day, and if you think being waterboarded is hard... have you ever tried shaving your legs when you are covered in goose bumps. Case in point.
15) Freedom to read whatever the heck I want. Or not read, as the case may sometimes be. I could be arrested, imprisoned, tortured, or killed in many countries in the Middle East, in Africa, and North Korea for the books I have on my bookshelf (and those are just my books from Bible college.)
This was a meandering list of things that I'm grateful for. It takes the sting out of my complaints already.