The New Year has come and everyone is making their resolutions for the coming months; I am no different. If anything, January 1st can be a time for contemplation about what we have accomplished and what we hope to accomplish. I would like to use this space to share my personal goals not only as a blogger, but as another individual amongst the billions. First, a reflection.
We have just spent our first full year in the new house. Being a homeowner is something I try every day to remember as a blessing. A year before we purchased our home I would have said there was no way we were close to making that step. For almost four years my wife, (three then) four kids, and I lived in the basement of my parent’s house—two bedrooms and 1000sq. ft. of living space. A wood burning stove was our source of heat and my winter job was to help my father collect enough wood to keep the house warm. Because of the opportunity to work outside cutting and chopping wood, winter has become a favorite time of year. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I have come to appreciate the quiet, clean air of the winter season.
We initially moved into my parent’s home as a means to pay off the small amount of debt we had incurred during our first years of marriage while I was finishing my teacher’s education. For the most part, our only form of entertainment was a trip to the video rental store and the occasional carry-out. It was not always a comfortable living arrangement but it provided an appreciation for what we had. A place to live during the “Great Recession” was an opportunity not everyone was privileged to have. The blessing of married parents, who were established financially, and had the space to take on six more people in their home, was a luxury most people do not have and I thank God for providing. Equally essential to our personal recovery, was the financial aid of Meg’s parents who were always willing to provide a monetary gift if we had an emergency. Basically, nothing my wife and I have acquired belongs to us. In turn, our parents owe their security to their parents, who after years of hard work and stable marriages, allowed for their children to find rest in their fruits; now they can offer the same rest to their children.
As we continued to pay down our debts, and grow as a family in the process, finding a job as a teacher was becoming less and less of a reality for me. We were unsure of our future and confused about the next step when our college degrees did not provide. Luckily for me, I had started working for my two best friend’s landscape business (which if you are in the Southeast Michigan area in need of outdoor services…) and had an income that put food on the table. Putting aside my immediate hopes for a teaching career, I committed my time to their business in exchange for a livable wage. Who has the opportunity to work for their friend’s small business and have employers who genuinely care about them? Again, this may be a rare blessing and I continually thank God for building this safety net around me. So here I am, the start of 2014, having lived in my house for a year and thankful for every minute of it. None of this was possible without family, friends, and God.
So what are my plans for 2014? Personally, I need to be more active. I need to walk more and I hope to begin backpacking as I have already begun collecting gear. I need to read more. While I lived in my parent’s basement in the woods, I had no cable or internet and read constantly; I want that back. In the same way I need to pray more. My prayer life is weak and convenient and that needs to change. I also hope to begin making preparations to enter the Diaconate program in the Orthodox Church. This has been in the works for several years, and God willing, I hope to move forward in this direction, though, perhaps it is not His will for me. We will see.
If you have stuck around this long to read my 900 word essay on me, thank you, and I hope you come again. My goal is to write on a more consistent basis and to post at a minimum of once a week on this blog. In my mind this blog has always been a stepping stone for me as a writer to move onto longer works. Ultimately, my dream is to write a novel, but I have a long way to go as a writer before that can happen. You will see a variety of styles and topics on this site as I exercise my written voice. I hope to engage my faith, my culture, and our common humanity—nothing special. Maybe I could leave something for my grandchildren to read so they have an account of what their family experienced during the beginning of the 21st century. Okay, sentimentality is gaining the upper hand—Happy New Year!