What are we doing here?

It’s been about a month here in Chester, Nova Scotia, with less than 2 months to go. In the beauty of our environment and circumstance, my uncertainty seems to seep in and I start asking Chris, “What are we doing here?” It’s easy to forget what brought us here in the first place. 

Chris’ role is quite clear - make leather products and keep the fire going.  My role, however, is more ambiguous. As Chris’ wife, I am his number one supporter to his big ideas and a critical eye to his leather work. But that, of course, leaves plenty of room in the day for thinking about my role and what it means in the big scheme of things. 

Sometimes the quietness and stillness can drive me crazy. Sometimes I miss having a job to cling to or school work to keep me grounded. 

When people ask me what’s hardest about living without electricity or running water, I tend to draw a blank. Who wouldn’t want to bathe in a river every morning and sit by a fire at night? But then I think maybe living simply doesn’t just mean carrying out simple tasks or having an empty afternoon to sit quietly. It means just being - and man, can that be difficult!

In one of Carl Jung’s books I’ve been reading this week, he talks about a place in the wilderness he would often retreat to: 

I have done without electricity, and tend the fireplace and stove myself. Evenings, I light the old lamps. There is no running water, and I pump the water from the well. I chop the wood and cook the food. These simple acts make man simple; and how difficult it is to be simple!
— Carl Jung (Memories, Dreams, Reflections)

The daily routine is simple, and it has been quite easy for us to get used to our small day-to-day tasks. The most difficult part is being okay with being simple - or just being. I wonder if this is what Jung was getting at as well. 

I’ll probably continue to ask myself what I’m doing here and what my purpose is here until the end of August, but I’m trying to be okay with that, and trust the process we’re going through this summer. I want to encourage those questions to arise and learn to embrace the simple (and somewhat ambiguous) role I have here - which is a really good one, considering I get to see Chris in his ideal environment, doing what he loves to do!