Saturday, September 4, 2010

Leaving Home

Feels scary.

Feels downright different.

Is right.

That is, it's right for my wife, Jennifer, our son, Tyler, and myself. We've lived in New Eng;and and Arizona during our marriage and parenthood thus far, and for the past six months we've heard the whispers beckoning us to an adventure overseas.

At first, we weren't necessarily sure where, for what, and why. After all, I had a great job teaching 7th grade English at the public middle school in Hudson, MA. Jen was an artist as a stay-at-home-mom and writer, and Tyler seemed to be growing strong, learning lots, and loving life.

However, as I type this words during the early morning, our flight is scheduled to take off for London at the end of this month, and after spending gobs of money to apply for visas, plane tickets, and tuition, we're finally making the leap.

Jen will be pursuing a PhD at the University of York, where she'll study for Sociology--specifically, how to stop human trafficking, Meanwhile, I'll be a stay-at-home father and work on writing (and perhpas try and teach part-time if we can find somethign available).

This new direction has us both scared and yet thrilled. We have asked ourselves in the last weeks and months: why uproot from our lives here, with a toddler, and do the exact opposite of what Anmerican culture tells us we should be doing right now? Why not rather put a down payment on a little home, build a retirement fund, climb the salary ladder, and save up to buy an SUV?

We found two problems with this plan--a plan we almost decided to take. The first was that it seemed like we couldn't find very many American families who pursued these things and we actually happy with their lives. Everything our culture tells us we shoudl be doing, in other words, seemed to us to bring very little lasting joy. Instead, we saw people counting down to retirement, when they could leave jobs they don't really like and find a pool or some other body of water where they could sit and drink alcoholic beverages.

Those who were buying homes as quickly as possible seemed ever anxious about payments, repairs, and other necessities of home owning.

Not that we never want a home, or a retirement fund. And yet, we sensed that the time wasn't quite right for us to dive into such pursuits--or, at least, that it wasn't right for us to pursue them blindly, merely because our culture was waving big flags that said, "Open! This Way!"

Jen's sensed the call to work to stop human trafficking, I sensed the call to be home with my son and to write, and the rest, as they say, is history.

We don't know this path. It's certainly not the path that has been preached to us by countless television commercials and classrooms. Yes, we're scared. But we're also thrilled by what this adventure will teach us--about ourselves, our family, and the world in which we live.