When we decided to follow our hearts and move to our true home in the mountains from Raleigh five years ago, not a single person in our extended families supported us or, for that matter, even seemed to wish us well. Yes, we had our own personal Prophets of Doom, who issued all manner of dire predictions, including the certainty of financial ruin—because our moving was not “financially prudent.”
And I had not a single word to offer in our defense (except that our spirits were weary and we yearned to go home). Because, the truth is, they were right. Leaving a good job and a decent home for an uncertain future was indeed not “financially prudent.” And, just as they predicted, we did experience financial hardship, though we’ve always had plenty to eat and a warm place to lay our heads.
And, now, five years later, Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man is making $12.17 an hour, whereas five years ago in Raleigh, he made $17.00 an hour. So, still, I have no rational argument to offer my still critical extended family. How do you make a case for riches of the spirit? Is there really a rationale for choosing a full heart over a full wallet?
Probably not, at least from a logical viewpoint. But perhaps instead I could offer these photographs. They were all taken in a 48-hour period this past weekend from our front yard. Yes, in just two day’s time, we saw: a double rainbow arcing over the valley, snow that frosted the peaks and made the Appalachians look like the Alps, and a sunrise over the mountains that took my breath away.
So, we count our blessings instead of our cash. And we’ll show our relatives in the flatlands these pictures and congratulate them for their financial prudence. And we’ll try not to mind that they think we’re foolish, irrational, and a little crazy for what we did. Because, really, maybe we are.
But if we are mad, we are content in our madness. And if we are fools, we are joyful—and most grateful—fools.
“They deem me mad because I will not sell my days for gold; and I deem them mad because they think my days have a price.” ~Kahlil Gibran