“Are we crazy?” We look at each other at some ridiculous hour of the night, but the light is still on and the textbook open.
I blinked my heavy eyelids and looked deep into my husband’s tired face, just inches from mine. The four little people were finally in bed, and the house was that delicious silent sound that happens only late at night and in the wee hours of the morning.
“So if I take those classes, it will mean I am only making the trip to campus four times a week…” I nodded and brushed my hair out of my face. The days of all his classes being online seemed to be dwindling, and more and more of his subjects require classroom time. I’m glad for him, honestly, because it feels so much more structured and prepares him for those last two years when online classes are a distant memory. But it means we need to take a deep breath as we plunge into another semester.
He’s been cramming on some really complicated math lately, and for the first time ever, numbers have been outwitting him. That’s what he does for a living- putting numbers precisely in order, writing checks, reconciling accounts… Lots and lots of numbers. And he’s crazy good.
But at midnight, his blue laptop light reflected frustration on his face. He turned the screen my way, “So this is how a quadratic works, but I just can’t get this next step…” I stared blindly at the lines and numbers and dots. Math was never my forte, and I’m delighted to have finally found a homeschool math curriculum for our children that includes lecturing and auto-grading.
I can see and understand how a backflip works, and how a split in the air with the head tossed back makes the toes brush the back of your scalp. I’ve done that, many long moons ago. But polynomials and quadratics are simply Greek to me. But he plows on, day after day, bogging his way through the sludge of mathematical unknowns.
Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry.
Are we crazy for hanging up a normal life and jumping in with both feet to daddy being in school? To husband juggling more tests and classes and work than realistically possible, but somehow he does them all, and well. To mom solo parenting a lot of the time, homeschooling and embarking on the never-ending job of food, clothes, and home for all? Are we crazy to do this while raising four energetic children? While living in a fixer-upper home, with lots of “character”?
Again and again, I hear women say, “But I’m just so scared about my husband’s new job. How do we know if it will work out, or pay the bills?” Or, “I’m just not sure. I really think we should stick with what has always worked…” What if the price feels too high?
What about the price of a “normal” life, where the fear of failure keeps us from ever trying something new? How can we teach our children to push through hard school concepts if we aren’t willing to push through our own hard places?
One of the things that attracted me to Daniel was his love for adventure, for blazing trails, for reaching out to people he had never met. It was wild, it was terrifying, but it was enticing.
But now, the most natural thing in the world is to want to sit tight, on my safe little couch where all is familiar and hold my children close. As women, we are created to nurture and care for our little ones. Significant transitions can look terrifying, and we default to the safe and known over the risky undiscovered territories that draw our men and spark something deep inside.
But our men are wired to conquer. To forge the unknown waters and find what is on the other side. They need to discover, to climb, to break through the dense woods and find the untouched clearing on the other side.
I heard years ago that men often face a mid-life crisis. My ears perked up- I wanted to be prepared. After hearing the sad saga, I shook my head. If and when Daniel stumbled into his, I would jump on and join the ride. Better that then him feeling lost and disconnected in an old and stale world, where not even his wife cared to understand.
When I got married, my mom mentioned “…and you know, if times get tough, you go down with the ship.” We both laughed because we knew Daniel was as steady and anchored as they come, and that we would not go down. But what she meant was, “You are committed. No abandoning ship or emotionally jumping off when times get rough.”
Obviously, we are committed to each other, and so we have hashed this thing out. I sensed this itch in his feet, the need to stretch to new areas. As a person, he needed something, was created for something bigger than building garages and settling accounts. To be honest, I pushed Daniel when he wasn’t even sure he was ready, ’cause I felt he needed it. We needed it.
After all, what is living really, if we aren’t dreaming? How can we grow if not stretched? How can we experience new mountaintops if never willing to leave our comfort zone?
So here we are, two crazies on a wild ride, with four children adding to the chaos. It is a wild, stretching ride. Full of dreams, and late nights, and lots of medical words.
Don’t be afraid of your hard.
Don’t steal the opportunities from tomorrow because today you aren’t willing to make the jump. Or support your husband as he contemplates a big change.
The fear of failure is a far bigger reality than failure itself.
Take the chance.
Listen to the dream.
Rest in the Author of your story.
You were made for greatness, even in the little things, and it takes risk.
It’s worth being a little crazy to really live.
These photos were taken at Lake Peyto in Banff, Canada.
Top picture taken by Micah Troyer, (who is exactly the kind of person you want to go trailing along behind on one of his great adventures).