I have a hard time transitioning from one stage of life to the next. Almost every transition I’ve ever made, I have a memory of a specific moment that I wept uncontrollably (some might call it a nervous breakdown :)) over the shift. I am sure most of my bridesmaids remember me standing in a parking lot during my bachelorette party and “weeping for my youth.” Wasn’t I a crazy-fun bachelorette ?! And Jeremiah can remember me crying and holding onto him every morning for a week, when he had to start back to work after a month of it being just us safe inside our little home, after we got married. Poor Pace had to endure a nine month pregnant elephant laying in bed with her and boo-hooing her whole naptime away over the thought of another baby coming to steal away our precious one-on-one life together. I could go on, but I think you get it. Change is hard for me.

However, not one of those changes was for the worse. Each one has brought more fulfillment, joy, and adventure to my life. So now, as I stare down the barrel of this next great shift, I find myself wondering yet again, “How can it get any better than this?”

I love our life. I love the normal routine of our day-to-day together. I love our friends, our home, our community. I love the person I’ve become by being secure in a great man’s love for me. I love that I have found ways to express some of the creativity that I had to ignore for all those years of schooling. I am happy and thankful and content, down deep, where it counts–even though there are a lot of days (that I’ve shared with you all) when I’m discontent up here on the surface.
There are some things that I don’t love, though, and, when I look at my little insignificant discontentments, I feel like they will all be fixed by one thing. One thing that I keep counting on being there when all this training finally ends——money. It’s ugly to admit isn’t it? It feels bad to admit that I want some of that stuff. But lately, especially as I’ve gone through Ecclesiastes, I’ve started to wonder if all these little discontentments I think I’m going to fix when Jeremiah can finally practice on his own, are really going to bring me more joy. Maybe even the opposite.

Let me stop philosophizing and give some literal examples:

Discontentment A: I wish I had more room in our home so that I could entertain our friends and family more comfortably.

Realization A: All our friends and family have fit just fine so far. More than just fine! How many of your best memories involve being crammed in a house that’s too small, which led to everyone being “forced” to be together? There is something to be said for the intimacy that’s created when we can’t each run away to our separate rooms and have “our own space.” Just a couple of nights ago at dinner, each person around our big round table shared that their best memories of childhood were either in a lakehouse with only a few rooms, an in-between home where everybody had to share rooms, or a grandparents’ house with cousins wonderfully oozing out of every crevice. The one thing each great memory shared, was the fact that there was not enough space! SO WHY DO I WANT TO BUILD A BIG DREAMHOUSE???

Discontentment B: I wish I could afford to buy a new outfit now and then, instead of always having to raid poor Ashley’s closet every time I have an event (To the point where each Christmas present she opened this year, she actually turned to me and said, “Look Abby, we got a new dress!”).

Realization B: Even if I filled 20 closets with designer clothes I couldn’t wait to wear, it wouldn’t be nearly as much fun as the countless laughs I’ve shared with Ashley as I pilfered and tried on all her clothes and heard her say, “Abby, I promise, your butt’s supposed to look like that in that outfit!” or even the honesty of, “Take that off immediately!” 🙂
Discontentment C: I wish I could afford to get a babysitter a little more often.

Realization C: We’ve drawn closer to each other during all our time together, and our family has been there time and again to offer help and relief.

Discontentment D: I wish I could step outside my door and see nothing but rolling hills and blue sky. I wish my children could run and play in woods, just outside our back door.

Realization D: If I have countryside, I sacrifice community. I lose the ability to walk across the street to Lauren’s, in my robe, at 7am on a Saturday morning to borrow syrup, because I started making pancakes before I realized we were out. I miss the opportunity to help Ashley J. with her boys when a migraine knocks her to her knees. I miss stepping outside on sunny summer afternoons and listening for which backyard the laughter is coming from, so that we can go join in.

I’ll stop now, but do you see what I mean? I’m not sure how the next stage can get any better than where we are right now. I’m not sure that having the money to chase our dreams, is going to bring joy instead of headache. Now, our family does a lot for us–to make things easier, to provide those meals-out, those new outfits, and even television! I am ready to feel like we can afford to live just like we do now, without everybody feeling like they need to help us. Wouldn’t it feel nice for Ashley to come to my closet for once, or to take my Dad out to eat, or to buy a present for Mrs. Linda that is at all comparable to the gifts she gives me? Yes. Money would help with those things. But the essence of our lives now, the simplicity…I’m mourning it. I’m afraid it can’t get any better than this.

15 Responses to “Can It Get Any Better Than This?”

  1. Susannah says:

    Beautifully said Abby! What a great communicator you are! Wonderful post…just what I needed! 🙂

  2. Darby says:

    Abby, I haven't commented in several posts… I promise it's not intentional… life has just been a tad busy! Your post was beautiful… and I love to hear what the Lord is teaching you. We all long for earthly treasures… not just you… I do it too. I think, "When will I be able to….?" and I could fill it in with a long list of things that I think I should be able to do. As if I'm being cheated or something… how pathetic really, you know? Thanks for making me not feel alone in my thoughts and thank you for encouraging me to embrace where I am and what gifts and treasures I have right now… but I could take all your examples and make them mine— except it would say "Erika's closet" instead of Ashleys!!

  3. Carrie says:

    Thank you so much for this post. Most of these are things that I struggle with daily as well and I appreciate your words that tug at my heart (in a good way) As always I enjoy the openness you allow us to see in your life since we all go through similar things!

  4. Konie says:

    Very well thought through and written Abby 🙂 As a 53 year old (that has been where you are today) I can honestly tell you there are many more great years ahead, but where you are right now, is oh so very wonderful!! It's evident in this blog that you also appreciate today 🙂 ALSO….I bet your dad would MUCH rather sit around your table enjoying the FABULOUS meals you prepare than to be taken out to dinner. Your meal Sunday night was the best Mexican meal I'VE ever eaten…!!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for such a beautiful post.

    I understand this completely {my husband is an ortho pgy2 in texas} and I catch myself in these thought patterns all the time. Sometimes I feel like my life is on hold. How silly that is! This is life, right now! Not when we have more money. I think I might need to bookmark this post… so that I can read it again when I get down! Thank you!!

  6. Blueprint Bliss says:

    Abby- This post is so, so great. I don't even know what to say. I do know that so many of us are in the same place as you. Not just those of us who are married to residents. Your heart is in the right place- that is evident to all of us. Thanks for being such an inspiration to me. xx- Brooke

  7. kerisullivan says:

    Abby- I am a devoted blog stalker of yours (the good kind, not like the weirdo that sent the note). I have to say that this is one of my all time favorite blog posts-of yours or anyone else's. Someone said that the root of all social evil is money. The evil in our hearts, the evil in our government, the evil in the third world- all because of a terrible lack of or terrible abundance/greed of money. This post pierced directly into my heart. Thank you!

  8. Lacey says:

    Thank you! God sends messages to us through all kinds of people and places including blogs you just stumble across.

  9. Bon says:

    Hi Abby, Yes, I see what you mean, and I am really happy for you that YOU see what you mean. Good on you for your honesty and insight.

  10. Chris G says:

    Good post Abby! Yeah, money surely makes things easier. A thing I have been taught though is that money isn't the prize, Jesus is the Prize, and communion through him with the Father. Even heaven itself is just a fringe benefit compared with having Christ and him having us. More worldly wealth means more responsibility and more burdens – those can be fun but taxing too. Life isn't so simple anymore. And finally, how much are we going to invest in this life in comparison with the next. Everything around us is passing, except for people and relationships, but only those that know the truth. Sorry for the length, just things that i have been thinking about.

  11. BKaminski says:

    You have one of my favorite blogs!
    I have never been one to mourn change, I'm actually pretty good at it. Thinking about it I might try to change too much! In fact the other day a friend of mine said "you have a problem you always want to be where your not" Which is sometimes true..most of the time. So hopefully I can get to a place where I think here, here is where I am supposed to be. Wouldn't that be nice.. and a few designer dresses, and a lovely new car with heated seats thrown in couldn't hurt 😉

  12. andi says:

    Great post Abby! 🙂

  13. Gail says:

    :O) You are ONE smart girl! Hold on…Life is going to be soooo fun for you! Just enjoy those Lil' girls today as tomorrow comes very fast! I miss ours at that age! Who knew! LOL…NOT me! But…it's so true. I do, I do, I do! You are making wonderful memories! Enjoy the ride! :O)

  14. A Bryan Photo says:

    a small tear at the thought of losing our great neighbors. great post, abby.

  15. Debbie Nix says:

    It is amazing how God works in our lives. While we think we are missing something, He shows us there is so much more. I identified alot with your blog. I feel like I am never going to get out of debt, I want to have a bigger home or at least fix mine up the way I want, and the list goes on…but, there is one thing for sure, I have the love of a wonderful God and Savior, who gave me the man I prayed for..I have two wonderful daughters that continue to make me laugh and are my best friends, one that is going to give me my first grandchild, it is never ending. When I feel as you do, and I do very often, I realize God is teaching me something and showing me the blessings He has given me. When I forget, I can read your blog…life will come full circle.

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