Friday, November 9, 2012

When It Comes to Dogs, Wandering and Keeping a Home

It's 2:30 on a normal afternoon and I'm about to get started on my second pot of french pressed brew. Bon Iver's Holocene is serenading me, and I smell the chicken, carrots and apples slow-roasting in the pan. Tonight I expect a dinner guest, so I'm mindful of what still needs to be done. 

Roast the potatoes. 
Pick up the floors. 
Run to the store. 
Go to the Post Office. 

I'm pulling curtains back to allow for more of this late autumn breeze. The candle is crackling quietly — Balsam Fir filling this home and reminding me of the mountains. Recently, my sister and I talked about making a home. Creating a place where growth and learning, comfort and solace can happen. 

(hotel beds are for weary travelers)

aside :: I am from a generation of wanderers. We, the children born sometime in the 80s, have a certain knack for selling all we have, packing our lives into cars and other four-wheeled automobiles, and keeping an arms-length from anything that smells like "settling down."  I mean, what kind of person would that make us? Settle down? Get a steady job? Buy a house? Pssh. That's what our parents did, not what we do. 

We travel to exotic countries, shun any attachment to belongings, avoid commitment-related relationships and then talk about how independent and content we are...all while we search for what's next.

Or maybe we want to be forgotten, lost in the fray. We want to live invisible lives, solitary, seeing as how life is meaningless and our existence is wasted unless we're adventuring. Life so far has proven to be a disappointment, so we're looking for the next thing to lasso our purpose around and ride into the sunset. 

We want to discuss theologians and philosophers who have shaped our thinking and ideas. We want faith to be something outside of a church building. We want long conversations until 2 a.m., and be able to leave without having decided anything. It's ok to be vague and elusive. 

I am from this generation. I am of this generation. It's not all bad. Truth is a vein pulsing through alot of it. 

And as much as we'd like to think it, we are not that different from those before us, or those after us, for that matter. :: 

I am here, in a small urban apartment, working a job, to pay bills, and raising a child. I buy things like movies and furniture.  I peruse travel sites, and my passport has now gone 18 months without a new stamp, but it's ok. I'm not spending my afternoon thinking about what next big adventure I'll be on, or how this life is empty. 

No, I'm thinking about whether or not I should make dessert, pick up a bottle of wine, or vacuum. I'm checking my e-mail, responding to clients, folding blankets and washing dishes. I'm kissing two little rosy cheeks, and explaining why the oven gets hot. I'm looking under the couch for Lite Brite pegs and mopping up spilled root beer. 

It all is so splendidly ordinary. 

I wonder when my generation got the idea that having a home, 
making a life, 
being responsible, 
taking care, 
when did these things become "less than worthy" ways to spend a life?  

aside :: I sit with a friend on my couch and she talks about how getting a dog was the hardest thing she's done in awhile. 

"It's a someone else besides me," she says. We are up late, sipping coffee, discussing all this and laughing at our own hipster anti-hipster rant about hipster living. I say things like, "I don't want to be like that." When really, *that* is just another *that*. She and I, we wonder when did it become so awful to have a dog? Why are we so hesitant to call a place "home"?

I've cultivated a sense of home throughout the past few years for us,
for my friends who need a place to rest,
for my daughter who needs a place to grow and learn, fall and get up again,
for strangers who were hungry,
for broken hearts who needed tissues,
for beaten up hearts who need balm,
for tough conversations to have a soft landing,
for Christ to be glorified in the most

I could sell all I have, 
but why?

So that I can say I've sold all I have? 
Dear same-generation friends, having a job, cultivating a home, building a family, putting down roots — these are rich things and you are not an adventuring failure for having these things in your life.
Shunning these things for the sake of being "young, wild and free" does not make us better people. That does not make me a better person.
It makes me a resounding gong,
a clanging cymbal.
Another clatter of self-denying noise 
in my world where someone just needs
me to keep my couch,
a hot pot of coffee
and a 


  1. Why you gotta hit my heart like that? why?

    I adore you.

    Thanks for letting me be one who had a broken heart and a need for tissues.

    i'm a life that was changed.

    1. I adore you too. And I think we've traded spots many'a'times with the couch and tissues and broken hearts. I'm ok with this continuing throughout our lifetimes.

  2. Andrea! I love this...I think you have hit the nail on the head. I am so glad you are enjoying the "spendidly ordinary" live that you have. Love to you and your sweet daughter!

    1. Thank you Katie! The beauty really is in the splendidly ordinary. We are enjoying it. :)

  3. Replies
    1. I LOVE YOU. Seriously. Miss your face.

  4. This is a neat post. I'm a child of the eighties and have just gone through a continent shift, so I'm in a different boat, but I like your thoughts on "ordinariness" and being OK with settling down. Sometimes people look at my travelling with envy, but their lives can or do have richness too, if only they'll look for it. And travelling is too much of an idol to many of us.

    Also, I saw your 30 post...and I am now I am duly warned that the next years will go quickly, thanks for letting me know :)


    1. Julie - thanks for stopping in! I hope your travels are amazing! :)