Monday, October 15, 2007

Marion, Massachusetts

At some random person’s house yesterday, I felt a weird but familiar feeling. It was the feeling I used to get when I was a kid and we were on furlough--that feeling of strangeness and pride, that I’m putting on a show, that I belong elsewhere and this is a break from real life. When I was a kid we came home from the mission field every two years for a summer--sometimes two months, sometimes four. Other missionary families only went home every four years, and then stayed in the States for a full year. I was always glad we didn’t have to do that. At least we could go to the same school every year.

It was such a familiar feeling, though. I used to feel it every summer we were here, all summer. The strangeness of the food. The peculiar enchantment and ubiquity of television. The vertigo of being around unknown people who haven’t the vaguest conception of the places I’ve lived or the things I’ve seen. I feel like we’re on a traditional furlough and it’s disorienting to me to find that I’ve created a life for myself that so closely mirrors that of my childhood.

We joke, half serious, about being missionaries all the time. We’re teaching people to live like lilies, we’re sharing the good news that Christ has proclaimed freedom to the captive and sight to the blind. These are the things I believe. These things are why I’m doing what I’m doing, why I’m following this narrow and windy path, precarious cliffs beat with giant seas down below. I said to my brother on our first day here that I worried our families didn’t understand the boat is “a realistic long-term life choice.”

He said, “It is?”

We’ve had some immense challenges this first year, but, coming up on our first anniversary, some amazing successes. Without having sailed before, we made it past the harbor considered the southern terminus of Bahamas cruising, in the wrong season. We persevered through having thousands of dollars of equipment lost, a huge chunk of our budget. We successfully stayed within our means for a full year. Where we’re heading is easier--places we have contacts and work, with a boat that’s better equipped, and with a crew that is more experienced. We’ve only just begun.

2 comments:

Nathanteflon said...

I wonder about the long-term sustainability of the cruising lifestyle too since I'm about to marry into it. From everything I've read, it seems doable. Other people, like the Pardys, have done all right by it.

Melissa said...

Nathan,
Wow. Marrying into it? Ambitious. Still, it's definitely doable if the desire is there. Anything is, I imagine. And it's sustainable long-term, too, in my opinion. You just have to find a way to fund it, either by having income from home or finding ways along the way, which, again, is doable. The Pardeys are the perfect example. But they're the perfect example of everything. As I've discovered, if you try to be too much like the Pardeys, you'll end up tearing your hair out.

M.