Ten years ago, when she walked down the aisle, Angie wanted tears – and it worked. I believe J Mac’s first words were, *deep breath* “whew!” As they have made their life together, Angie and Chad continue to live in that same sort of awe-inspiring intensity.
I’ve never seen anyone aspire to such the non-American dream. To them, 2.5 kids, a white-picket fence and high-paying 9-5 careers sounds miserable. And they live like they believe it. They scrape the edges of their finances to make a non-traditional school a possibility for their kids. They’ve discovered true give-and-take community within their church that breathes life into them, where serving goes beyond responsibility. Their lack of trust for our food system provoked them to find outlets for local and healthy options, so much so that Angie was only going to a traditional big box for toilet paper and diapers.
Don’t tell them “that’s just the way it is.” They’ll find a way to buck that system.
And I see that same ferocity of carving out a way of life with meaning and intention in their love for each other. They clear paths for one another to try to make it possible for each to be living their fullest selves. Sometimes it means seasons of hardships – late nights fixing plumbing or seasons of second-shift, solo parenting. Because they don’t have “careers” someone might be tempted to believe they don’t work, but I disagree. You’ve limited the efforts of creating a good life to those with a bi-weekly paycheck.
You don’t have to despise the American Dream to be inspired by their lifestyle – you simply have to wish you lived so deeply true to your value system that you’re willing to make decisions based upon it. Everybody likes the notion of finding freedom from the rat race – few decide to take a hard right turn to find an escape route.
Browsing about Pinterest I find all kinds of pithy quotes about living life to the fullest and being true to yourself. I find those as a reflection of a deep unrest, an inspiration toward what a person wants to be and what they want from life. Chad and Angie don’t have time to pin it – they’re busy living it. You can’t talk to them for 5 minutes without understanding they live from their truest selves and the decisions they make match their highest priorities.
Dear, dear friends*, I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I’m speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!
(2 Corinthians 6:11-13, MSG)
The past 10 years I’ve watched them live into this truth. They live openly and expansively, allowing the deep, deep joy of true life flow into their home, their neighborhood, their school and their church. When an element seems meaningless or small, they discover a new path into a more spacious life. Taking this route has cemented a strong love. They walk not just arm-in-arm but fiercely by one another’s side.
Chad and Angie, here’s to another 10, 20 even 50 years of living your truest selves in the arms of the one who continues to reveal to you the Source of this great love and life.
*Michele translation. You’ll find Corinthians in the original.