Mom and I are both reading a book called The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball. (Okay, folks, I know what you're thinking, so just hold that overactive imagination of yours for a moment while I explain.) In it Kristin, a city slicker from New York, meets Mark, a CSA farmer (community supported agriculture--basically you grow locally in order to feed the locals--something I'd really love to do one day) and they "dig" each other (pardon the pun) and take over a broken down farm in order to start their own CSA farm with the capacity to provide a "whole diet" for their "investors"--people who pay a yearly fee and are supplied with everything people should eat: meat, butter (lots of butter), veggies, milk, grains, cheese... from a single local farm. Of course, they're having a hard time of it--clay dirt and their milk cow just got attacked by local dogs and they are going to do everything with a team of horses rather than use tractors. So, here's a quote I read tonight that I love:
"When we would talk about our future in private, I would ask Mark if he really thought we had a chance. Of course we had a chance, he'd say, and anyway, it didn't matter if this venture failed. In his view, we were already a success because we were doing something hard and it was something that mattered to us. You don't measure things like that with words like success or failure, he said. Satisfaction comes from trying hard things and then going on to the next hard thing, regardless of the outcome. What mattered was whether or not you were moving in a direction you thought was right."
It reminds me of another quote I love, the kind of quote that attaches itself to your life and won't let go:
"Without hope, without despair--write." I'm pretty sure Kafka said that, but I've thought it so many times that, at this point, I'm fairly certain I can claim it as my own.
I think I like how both of these quotes have to do with redefining why we do things. I had a conversation with someone this week, the kind of conversation that just springs up unexpectedly and the next thing you know both of your are doing that, "Oh, oh, oh, and there's that other thing and then that other thing..." thing and you feel like God is reminding you that He meant for us to be excited and happy about lots of things and to be there for each other to provide the spark when our lights seem dim and pointless.
So, I'm doing hard things and I'm doing them without hope or despair because it seems a path made up of something righteous and something that matters to me.
(Thanks for reading this stuff, friends. Your presence is real and sustains me.)