Then it hit us. Should I finish the five or more years required by my doctoral program, our oldest daughter Olivia would be a teenager, and that ten years would put her in her twenties. Quite honestly, being faced with the reality of such a loss of time with our children on the land seemed to be enough of a reason to seriously consider taking leave from my studies at the university. So, I did.
Now we find ourselves in the midst of transition, one that is both profoundly difficult and overwhelmingly glorious (though I suppose the two go together more often than not in any process of conversion). Until we can get our own house to a livable condition, we are living down the road on my family's land, in a small one-room cabin. We get our water from a well in the field, as there is no indoor plumbing. We are finding all we have ever dreamed of and long for, and we are already learning the difficult lessons of life on the land.
At times, I have questioned the insanity of our decision; I would be lying if I said I have not questioned the whole thing. These times have been some of the most difficult and trying times of our life. But as I look outside and see my children playing in the fields and under trees, their faces red from the sun and hands smudged with earth, I could never be so certain of its rightness and sanity. It is our giving thanks and our participation in life given in the Eucharist, slow and patient in its long fruition. Maybe over the next ten years we will start to get the hang of it.
Indeed, as the psalmist says, it is good to be walking with the Lord in the Land of the Living.