Monday, January 23, 2012

Dance Party (and Stashes of Peanuts, Becoming Content)

Jen started it.

(And for that, I'm immeasurably thankful.) It was one night when she realized that music hadn't been a very prominent part of our lives lately. Without a stereo system or CD player, we hadn't been as quick or keen to open up the laptop and insert CDs into it.

But after Christmas, when some friends gifted us with a CD player, we went bonkers.


Jen pulled out the Forest Gump soundtrack CDs, and she flipped until "Turn, Turn, Turn" by the Byrds was on. Tyler and I listened, watched as the music thumped through our kitchen, and then, the three of us joined in. Arms flailing, bodies turning (and turning and turning), mouths singing the words with the letting-go kind of glee.

It is interesting to note what improves or enhances what.

For instance, take an elephant. If that elephant has a large stash of peanuts which he can madly devour, but you tell that elephant that you have seven more stashes waiting for him if he'll leave the current stash of peanuts and follow you to the seven more, he'll probably tell you, "Dude, knock it off. You're whacked. I am thoroughly enjoying my current stash of peanuts. Take your other seven stashes and go bother some other elephant."

In other words, he'll be content. Happy with gorging his trunk on the present peanuts available in plenty.

For a long time--more months than I would care to admit--I looked at this England adventure as a growing season, yes, but as a growing season that would unfailingly involve those beautiful pinnacles of success and perhaps some cha-ching. I imagined the England journey as a letting go of all our American possessions, living by faith, loving by faith the new vocations Jennifer and I were each stepping into, and then kind of having everything fall into place.

All the tangibles, see.

But the the tangibles didn't fall into place. All the material stuff got, well, thinner, less, more stretched. And as the months ticked past, I tried to remind myself of the lesson we had hoped to learn: it's not about the stuff. Not about the success, the praise, the kitchen appliances, the various pairs of jeans, the massive home library of books. And consciously, I got the message.

After ten months of lean living, I got the message.

Sure did.

Except I didn't. I mentally got it, but my heart wasn't in it.

And then we hit month 14 of our adventure. And the thin living suddenly felt....full. Fat. The not-having-much-stuff felt so incredibly like this uncanny generous heaping-over portion of stuff that I began to look at it all and say, "Dude. DUDE! There is a whole load of stuff here."

Walking everywhere became less about not having a car and more about having legs.

Holy crap! Legs. TWO of them. They move back and forth--they do what I tell them to do--go where I tell them to go! HOLY CRAP!

And then came the dance parties. Now that we're on month 16, the dance parties have taken off, see. It's not just "Turn, Turn, Turn" anymore. It's "Come On, Eileen," and "Rock around the Clock," and especially "Eye of the Tiger." And Tyler knows all the words. And Jen knows all the words.

And I know all the words.

And our arms flail and our bodies lunge and our eyebrows rise. And the guy telling us that there are SEVEN stashes of peanuts elsewhere suddenly seems kind of puny and a little bit sad. And I am thinking, Dude, this is one amazing stash of peanuts right here.