Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Complications and Happiness

The feeling comes upon me every now and then: the desire to pull up stakes and relocate the family.

Some enterprising pollster recently decided to measure people’s happiness and catalog it according to geographic location. Ohio, it turns out, is way down on the list of states, ranked according to happiness. We are 44th out of 51. The District of Columbia, so it appears, is now a state. I can’t help but wonder why Puerto Rico and Guam were left off the list. Any relocation that we might make based on the happiness ranking, however, would have to be fairly far. None of the states bordering Ohio ranks any higher than 34th, and both Indiana and Michigan fare even worse than we do. The closest state to rank in the top ten is Tennessee at 4th. Ah, Tennessee, with its rolling hills and its country music! I could learn to like Tennessee.

It’s never going to happen, though. Especially now.

We’re in the middle of a construction project on our 80 year-old house, and we’re taking on a bunch (for us) of new debt in the process. We now “own” the house even more than we did before. We’re not going anywhere. The accumulated complications of life aren’t going to offer us an easy way out, not that I ever really expected that they would.

The temptation to look around and see greener grass anywhere other than in your own yard is a powerful one. It also usually turns out to be an illusion.

I used to scoff at people who warned me that my teen-aged kids would drive me batty. “Not mine,” I would insist. “I’m raising mine right.” I don’t scoff anymore. Instead, I wonder that God has entrusted such a responsibility to me, and I hope and pray that I don’t screw it up too much. I know that all too soon, they’ll be moved out, accumulating their own complications. I only hope (selfishly, I know) that they don’t move far.

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