The kids are asleep, the wife just slipped in too and I'll join them as soon as this post and compline are done.
A few observations on both leaving and going are in order. First, we really needed people. We needed help if we were to pack up and leave in roughly a 20 hour period. We did it, but let us be very clear that without the help we received it would not have been possible (or at least it would have been exeedingly more horrible). When I met with my [now former] pastor about the prospects of living on the land, hopefully with other Catholics nearby he made a very wise remark. First, let me say that this man was a direct disciple of John Senior, so his views on my move were very important to me. I remember that he said, "You know, 98% of attempted communities fail, because they don't really need each other." He was speaking of a more "intentional" community approach, which I am intentionally avoiding, but I took it to heart. The people that came to help were real community - from work, school and church. I could not have done it without them, my plans would have been foiled. Yet, with them by my side, I was able to leave theirs. It was a testamtent to community that I had, and I must be honest that it makes the move even harder. But I'm still in. Thank you to every packer, benefactor, loader and cleaner on the crew - especially my father who drove the truck behind my vehicle.
The second observation was the number of people that I saw looking at my packed truck longingly. They wanted on this train to adventureland. Many people really do want out of the system that holds them so tight, but loosening the grip is difficult. I don't want to drag my family through hell or anything, but even if we fail, it'll be worth it for what we and they can learn from it. As my old boss use to say, quoting one of the many bizleadershipgainhabits books that he oft quoted, "Failure is compost." How fitting on this adventure is that - compost! I hope this blog, and another very exciting project soon to be announced, will spark and equip many more to follow. Learn from my folly dear fellows.
The third observation was the peace of the move. I'd like to remind you that we just drove from Saturday night to Wednesday morning with three kids that are three and under. The drive alone is hard, and I know that from experience. But from the well-chosen hotels to the stops with friends to the delightfully grungy truck-stops (I love truck stops), it was a good trip. Really good. The kids had a few moments of whining and crying, which I can't really blame 'em for, and my wife's legs are numb from living in a square foot for days, but I can honestly say that it bordered on fun. I am "checking out" of many things, and I have long rejected many others, but I am not above hotel pools, portable dvd players and even some cheap food when you're driving across a continent. Rock on Baby Einstein, even if you're name doesn't make any sense (if my baby was an "Einstein" why would I need their "development" movies? - you should be watching movies of my baby being amazing if he were already an Einstein at 4 months. They seem to assume that my baby is not an Einstein and I am incapable of teaching them so I need hours of screen time with their miracle product. Shenanigans). Back to the peace. I of course without a shadow of a cucumber think that God is blessing our move. The only drawback to all of our recent plans was that it has been a bit rushed. Yet, we have spent hours in prayer and spiritual direction, and my spiritual director was not fond of the idea, but he did eventually give a reluctant blessing because the situation did look like a door providentially opened. His blessing stuck and the trip was blessed.
So, if you're looking at moving to the land, here's some thoughts so far from our experience:
- Pray, think and talk, but do something.
- DVDs. Get some.
- Drive with your family and have someone else drive the truck.
- You are not alone. That's the great American myth ("self-made man"). You need help to make this decision, figure out where to go and how to get there, and you need help making it happen. The filling of this need will help you see real community, and will be a huge step in a back-to-the-ground-and-community kind of thing - farming communities like the Amish have always had stronger community because they really really need that ogre of a man Jebatoadia to help raise their barn. Need people, its a good thing.
Pics will come as soon as we can find the wires and stuff somewhere in one of these unmarked boxes filled to the brim by someone that's not here with us on the other side.