On Giving Up a Good Thing

by Kim on July 4, 2011 · 38 comments

My mom was visiting last week from Ohio.  It was nice to see her, catch up, and spend some quality time together.  In true take-one-for-the-team fashion she even spent a whole day of her vacation helping me plant flowers and landscape the yard in order to get our house ready to go on the market.  My mom threw herself into the effort knowing good and well that by helping she is enabling us to head off down a path that she doesn’t completely support.  To the credit of both of my parents they have never stood in the way of my dreams.

A few evenings after our landscaping extravaganza my mom and I settled in on my back porch with a bottle of wine.  The sun was sinking, the breeze was warm and we’d set a fire in the chiminea.  Stars were popping up against the darkening sky. 

Earlier in the day my mom and sister, who came down from Seattle, had cheered Brian and I on as we ran a half marathon with a few of our friends.  Afterwards we went wine tasting in Hood River, a picturesque little town on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge.

Grapes grow in the Columbia River Gorge

My sister and my mom taste some Oregon Pinot

Brian and Mom drink wine in the sunshine

It had been a great day and my mom had gotten a little taste of what our life is like.  It was fun to show her the active lifestyle and the beautiful surroundings that living in Oregon affords us. 

“Do you two realize what a nice life you have?” My mom asked as she filled our glasses with a Pinot we’d picked up during our vineyard visits. 

“Of course,” I said, “We thank our lucky stars every day.”

“Good, I’m glad you see it.  I just want to make sure you are fully aware of the great life you are giving up.”

I do know, Mom. 

I don’t blame her for asking the question or for wondering why we’re doing what we’re doing and worrying that we’ll regret it.  In fact, if she wasn’t trying to make sense of our decision I’d be surprised. 

Fact is, it’s one thing to walk away from a life that is bad for you, going nowhere, or making you miserable.

It’s a whole other thing to walk away from a good life because it is not the kind of good life that you want for yourself. 

When you give up something good for something unknown the world suddenly wants an explanation.  It doesn’t make senseWhy?  People want to know. 

The why is so hard to explain.  I haven’t yet figured out how to articulate what it is about that internal knocking that says “yes, yes, you’re on the right path, keep going.”   

There are plenty of times that we feel foolish or selfish or even crazy for giving it all up.  Almost all of the time we feel scared.  But a beautiful thing about the human soul is that it will push on despite it all.  When the soul speaks you cannot help but listen.

I know that some people interprete our life path as a rejection of all of the blessings that we have been given.  It is not true. Yet I do understand that it may look that way. 

When my mom arrived for her visit I believe she assumed that we are running away from something.  I think she drew the conclusion that we must be unhappy and looking for an out.

I hope she left with an understanding that we are running towards something.  We aren’t quite able to put into words what exactly it is, but we both believe that it is bigger than the life we lead now.

Wine makes us happy