It’s been a heck of a summer, which I will try to sum up as briefly as possible.
We moved to Fredericksburg on June 24, and started work at Lockhart Family Farm a week or so later. As a new startup, the margins were always going to be tight – we knew that. But then a little over a month ago, we lost nearly half of our turkeys to coyotes, and thus a large chunk of income for the farm.
Needless to say, this put a big dent in the farm’s precarious budget, to the point that, in order to find a way to pay our wages and stay afloat, the Lockharts (who had already cut their salaries) were planning to take on additional part-time jobs. We felt awkward at this: that it would put too much strain on the people who are actually a necessity to the farm for the benefit of those who aren’t. So (with their agreement and blessing) we decided to release ourselves from our contracts and cease to be Lockhart Family Farm employees.
The date we set was the end of August, which was yesterday. We now have no jobs. Don’t you just love adventures? We don’t.
This is not the first time that the metaphorical rug has been swept from under our feet and our best laid plans have done the thing that best laid plans often do – in Cornwall (2010-12) and in Charleston (2012-13) our attempts to set achievable goals and work towards them were also thwarted. It leaves us feeling halfway between bemusement and despair, wondering whether we really are this spectacularly bad at making life decisions, or whether this is what following God (which is what we are attempting to do) looks like.
There is a lot I could say, and this month we have run the entire gamut of emotional responses – from real despair and depression about having lost a livelihood from which we were hoping to build our lives and expand our family, to excitement for the opportunities that are hopefully ahead of us, to plain ole’ worry about where (and when) the next paycheck will come. There have been sleepless nights of crying out to God together, and there have been days of having a little more hope and trust in him than we did the previous day (although I want to point out that it has not been an upwards or linear trajectory). It’s been really, really hard. We still feel quite bewildered, but we are trying to carry on the best we can.
The one thing that stands out to me through all of this is that David and I love each other more than we did two months ago. I don’t know if it’s because of all the shit we’ve been trudging through lately (literally and figuratively), or if it’s because we’re approaching four years of marriage and are finally figuring things out a bit. Please understand that I really dislike sentimentality of all kinds and am hesitant to write about marriage in a gooey type of way because (a) marriage is fucking hard, and (b) feelings come and go on any given day/month/year. But this love that I’m standing on, that is keeping me going, is nothing of my own doing (or David’s). I think it is the grace of God in very very hard time. And for that I am grateful.
I will leave you with a poem that David wrote for me for our anniversary last year, which has been in my mind lately.
To cling to;
To hold when the waves get too much,
And my feet lose touch
With the safe sand.
For you have crossed oceans
But still buoyant.
Driftwood from a distant tree
Drifted to me;
And not let go.
Let’s take our dogs to the beach
Running in the bluster,
Skipping over the tide.
Other isolated sticks,
Spars washed up
From their wearying wanderings.
Pile them together with ours
And strike a match.
See the flames reach into the night.
Of the feast.