Sometimes, I just want to live in America again; actually most of the time lately I’ve been longing to live again in the ‘Land of Easy.’ Not that life is a complete breeze when you live in the States by any means, but with some things, I had the option of ‘Easy.’ Things like feeding your chickens or making biscuits for dinner could be as simple or as complicated as I chose to make it. I had the option to pop open a tube of biscuits from the fridge instead of mixing them up from scratch each time. I had the option of ripping open a bag of manufactured pellets for my birds and pouring it into the feeder – that was it, done! Simple, easy and I didn’t have to sweat over it.
I guess what I miss is the ‘Option of Easy’ where I could choose to make certain things simple or I could choose to do certain things the harder, often more rewarding, way. Raising chickens has always been a joyful and uncomplicated thing for me before now. Now, though it still can bring joy once things are figured out, it’s been a complicated and rather frustrating thing for me. I have to custom mix our feed from local sourced grains and legumes trying to get the right mixture of protein, starches, fat, etc. Vitamins and minerals is honestly a nightmare trying to figure out. Trying to keep unvaccinated birds healthy when you are the sole veterinary care and pharmacy for miles is intimidating and disheartening.
My last post revealed some of the more recent struggles that we have been going through and how I am looking to the future with those things; but right now, the weight of the struggles still remains alongside the hope and with that weight comes the ‘Longing for Easy.’
I guess I just never realized that the joy of keeping chickens (or many other things) was founded partly on not having to do all of the work myself. I’d feed my birds pellets, ones that were the best that I could afford, but I’ve never had to take responsibility for mixing feed myself, even down to cracking the corn by hand myself. Some people choose to mix their own feed instead of pellets but it is a choice with a huge variety of grains available. I’ve never had to grow certain things like herbs or other vegetables if we wanted to enjoy them as a family at all. I may have chosen to grow them, or mix the feed, or whip up those biscuits from scratch but those things were more about the novelty of doing it all myself, not the necessity. It was never “if we want to eat basil, I must grow basil.”
Things have been hard for us lately, I won’t lie, and right now we are currently taking a much-needed vacation and break from life in Nyankunde. We are in the middle of a two-week vacation that will be followed by a six-week mini-furlough back in the States to relax and spend time with family and friends. For just a little while we will get to enjoy some of the ‘easy’ things like going to a restaurant. I will get to walk in, sit down and order a burger that gets brought to me in a matter of minutes without having to bake the buns from scratch, slice all the vegetables, and make and cook the burgers. Ahhhhh . . . .the sweet novelty of it. For just a little while I will get to drink as much milk as I want where all of the work was done for me before I poured it into my glass (or drank it straight from that beautiful plastic jug right in the store while crying for joy . . .).
Time with family and friends will also be a novelty as that is another struggle of our life overseas. Having the support of your family or in your friends is something I truly do miss and long for as well. We have friends in Nyankunde, don’t get me wrong, but there is just something special in the idea of dropping your baby off at Grandma’s house for some “Grandma-time” (also known as free babysitting) while you do . . .whatever you want! It’s almost like time away from your kids you don’t have to feel guilty about because you know that they are with the other person that love’s your little one almost as much as you and your spouse do; it’s making memories and fostering family relations instead of off-loading.
So as we spend a nice chunk of time back in the States I plan to soak up the options of things as a much needed break. Hopefully the time away from must will refresh me enough to come back to Nyankunde and “take the bull by the horns” so to speak. Not having options is tiring and very frustrating at times but it also reveals things about yourself they you wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
Discovering how options feel like easy and how necessity feels like hard or complicated is an interesting revelation to me. Options mean I’m in control, necessity mean I have no choice and am not in control. This is yet another place that God is showing me in my life that I’m not in control; it challenges me on a very deep level and brings me back to Him. Not that I expect him to drop the magic feed ration from heaven into my lap but it does have me praying for peace and wisdom as I study and trudge through the hard times to figure it out. It means that when I’m planting those things we want to enjoy I get that snippet of time to pray and ask that they do grow so we can enjoy them. I guess I’m continuing to learn more every day that I need Him, even as I mix grain together to feed to my chickens.