A new reader, Wendell from Lubbock, wanted to know how the reality of a simpler life away from the city was working out. Well, Wendell, I am no longer responsible for 500 employees providing municipal services to 45,000 people while seven politicians are checking my work to make sure it suits their needs. My life here is much simpler than it was there. It is not without its challenges or complications or complexities, but these things are for me to work out and judge if they are successes or failures. If I want to walk the fences, I choose to do so without the need to check with a boss or make sure it fits within job responsibilities. I don't have to talk to reporters wanting to know what I plan to do tomorrow or why I planted Elberta peaches instead of Rangers. I do not have to juggle work and family and faith as I have found that my family and my work here on the property can and do mingle together all of the time. My faith and work are interlaced with each other and the disconnect between personal and professional life that was required in my past work is no longer a factor in my life. Like my old suits and ties, this compartmentalization is an aspect I do not have to worry about.
Last week we went to the Metroplex to pick our son up as he is on leave from his first tour in Iraq. We got to see a bunch of old friends and drove around the city where we used to live and where I was the City Manager. Several friends commented on how much more relaxed I seemed. I hear this all the time from folks who knew me back then. As we drove around and through neighborhoods where folks are packed in tight and on roads that are crowded and where buildings close in on you as you drive I had one of those moments of clarity that city life is no longer for me. I doubt that I will ever be able to provide for my family off of the money we raise on the farm, but we get to be here. To work a few days a week in town in order to have more days out here working on land we own and where we will live out our days - God willing - is worth any loss the old me would have considered too costly.
Shortly after we moved here I was up one morning reading my Bible and 1 Thes 4:10b-12 jumped off the page at me and has been a touchstone ever since. It reads: But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.