We are commonly asked ‘Why do you live out there?’
It is commonly asked with an expression of confusion and often disgust. Most people do not understand why we would choose to live in a place with gravel and dirt roads. They do not understand why would not want to live in a neighborhood with other people just steps away to share sugar or drink on a Friday night. And the answer is quite simple. 'Out here' is where we are home.
We did the suburb thing. We had a house near our dear childrens' school. We had amazing neighbors. There were many weekend nights where we had block parties. We would set up camp at the house where the baby monitors could reach. The older kids would ride bikes and play games until the streetlights came on. Us adults would sit and share stories, make jokes, and solve the world’s problems. These are still some of my favorite memories.
While we enjoyed that life my dear husband and I found ourselves going for long drives on gravel and dirt roads over the weekends. We both felt called to larger spaces filled only by the big sky, open fields, and mature trees. These drives started as our dear children were infants and toddlers. The best way to get them to take a nap was strapping them in their car seat, turning on some music, and going for a drive.
We found ourselves driving the same area. These drives allowed us to talk about what we wanted in the future. They allowed us to share our dreams for the future. My dear husband and I would see houses on large plots of land and discuss what we loved or would do to make it our own. The freedom. The privacy. The space for projects. These all ignited our spirits.
After years we finally reached the point, we were ready to talk to a real estate agent and see some places up close. She had a few places she was going to have us look at on a Saturday afternoon. Just before heading out to meet her, I looked online again – house hunting had become a compulsion in my life. There was a beautiful place in the same area but was not on our list. I called our agent as I got in the car and asked if she could add it to our list.
That day we checked out three other properties. All the places had a mix of open field and mature trees. Each place had its own ‘not for us’ component. We headed to the house I had added to the list at the last minute. We started the exploration. After going through the house, we headed out the back door.
The moment I stepped into the garden I felt it. This was home!
We finished the outside tour. We walked the fields, explored the buildings, and just tried to take it all in. My dear husband and I went back into the house to talk with the real estate agent. As we sat down, I did not know how we were going to do it, but I knew we were going to buy this place.
At one point my dear husband and I looked at each other completely terrified. Who let us be the adults and make the decisions? Who let us decide we could try to reach for a dream we had shared for so long? How were we going to get through the next few months to make this all happen?
We did it. We did it one step at a time. We did it together. And every step we took got us closer to home. As my dear family would make trips from the old house to the new house the mood of the car would change from tense and bickering to calm and creative discussions the moment, we hit the gravel road. It was the exact encouragement I needed on the hardest days.
Now, when I am having a distressing day, I step out into my garden. Standing there with my feet planted in the soil I am completely grounded. That is how I knew I was home on our first tour. Standing there, even still I am washed with a feeling of being exactly where I belong.
I hope you as a reading find that place. I hope everyone finds a place where they can plant their feet and know they are exactly where they belong. That feeling of home can settle every other worry in your mind.
It is here, in the freedom of the fields and away from the crowds that me and my dear family connect with God. It is the lessons we learn ‘out here’ that keep us grounded in what is most important. We live ‘all the way out here’ because it is home. And my dear husband and I are truly living our dream.