Ever wish for the power to see into the future? Ever long for the ability to know ahead of time if the path you’ve set out on will take you where you really want to go?
In my twenties, I set out on a journey with David that meant we selected a trail and forged ahead no matter what barrier blocked our journey. During the first years, we struggled with meeting basic necessities. Like most people, our twenties meant scrounging for every penny just to make it through each month. I remember evaluating everything by gallons of milk or gas. Did we need to go to a movie? That would be “spending” three gallons of milk on entertainment. How much did I want that new top? It would cost me the same as a tank of gas to go see my family. By being budget conscious and frugal, we pulled together enough money to purchase our home, but it wasn’t easy. Our next goal, having a child, proved an unexpected challenge, too. While many of our friends and family members seemed to pop out babies with great ease, we found ourselves looking for the answers to infertility. The answer we found, adoption, led us onto the wonderful path of parenthood.
In our thirties, David had the opportunity to start his own business and work from our home. We couldn’t turn down the chance of having one parent at home at all times. The freelance business brought its own trials. Clients loved to send contracts with short turnarounds on completing the work, but then they bogged down the payment process. Sometimes a project’s payment wouldn’t come in for more than two months. If we’d had a crystal ball that could have predicted the shortcomings and obstacles of self-employment, would David have attempted his business? Even with hindsight on the difficulties we faced, we probably would have made the same choices because the benefits of having a parent at home outweighed the uncertainties of sporadic income.
Every decision we made as a couple, we made with the goal of keeping our family strong. Many times, life piled seemingly insurmountable obstacles on the trail before us. Often, we plowed forward blindly on the pure faith that if we put family first we couldn’t get off track. Sometimes onlookers from the sidelines catcalled and jeered, trying to steer us into another direction. They’d throw large bricks of doubt directly in front of us that made us lose our footing and momentum. Eventually, we learned to block out the noise of the faceless crowd and kept true to our trek.
I thought, foolishly, that I’d eventually hit an age where everything would fall into place. Where the wisdom of my years and experience would mean I wouldn’t flounder on this winding trail of life. However, questions still plague my days and nights. Obstructions make me pause and second guess myself. I find that I’m still trying to divine the future as I take another loop along the path. My soul searching illuminates the road just far enough ahead for me to know that keeping family whole and strong will secure safe passage.
Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman