Living in the now and not yet

It’s a foggy Wednesday morning. I slept well. Conrad woke me up as usual with hot delicious coffee. It rained heavily last night and the ground is still wet. It smells heavenly: the grass, the flowers, the crops, even the cows whose milk we savor fresh every morning.

Conrad is meeting with the Liviu and Rares at a coffee shop, for some guy time. I rarely have the house to myself in the morning or any time of day for that matter. I love being home alone.

The last two nights we had impromptu friends over. We just can’t stay away from each other. We find good reasons to visit each other, like have coffee and see the sunrise (at Adi and Anca) or see the sunset on our balcony and enjoy a bottle of red from Liviu. We work hard and we are rediscovering the joys of friendship and community (living in close proximity – in Terra), a delightful time even for introverts.

What am I going to tell you about today? I’ll start by making a note of the positivity tendency, the inclination to focus on the positive events in our lives. Not to brag about them or make anyone compare their inside journey with our outside carefully selected events. But simply to re-live the good things that happen.

Over the last two weeks I lost a bit of the joy of working from home as we rarely made time to play outside. It has been a marathon, and the marathon is not over. Work is intense and the hours are early and they are late. But as I was reading an article about choices, a homeless person gave up a large sum of money in exchange for a job. We want purpose more than we want money. We want a community and we want enough for a decent living, but with consistency over time. Is that true for you too? I know that as we moved here, with a responsible attitude, we had a little money saved, but until we figured out a rhythm to continue to work and not just consume everything we saved, I couldn’t rest easy.

Since we are on the topic of wealth… I have been somewhat aware of people’s judgement that we foolishly gave up the land of possibilities, and other may look down on us. But I had forgotten about the opposite of the judgement possibility. Nobody cared in US, and we were certainly at the low end of wealth, but in Romania we are so easily perceived as the wealthy americans. Conrad was more aware about it than me, before we moved. Life is so much more than money. And the most lively, beautiful, creative, funny and driven people are still the ones who have little.
As we were on vacation with mom and dad, road-trip to Croatia and Austria on a budget, Conrad stopped me on our walk to ask me with a serious face “vio, are we poor?”. We had a long conversation about that. I think the problem is not how much we have or we don’t have, but the embarrassment we feel for how much we have. I remember the freedom I have felt in US going out with single friends saying “this is out of my price range” and that was ok. Oh the curse of status. It seems less acceptable here to say “I can’t afford that”. I truly admire people who can say that so casually.

One thing Romanians don’t understand: in US young adults start working when they are 16 or younger and they move out and get jobs so they can be independent. There is a stronger sense of “what is mine is mine and what is yours is yours” (for parents and children) and you have to work to earn that self respect and independence. Parents (like Conrad’s) will always be available and with a watchful eye to help if you are desperate and have no other solution, but they will never volunteer money or help before time. And that is a very good thing. Conrad and I have struggled financially at times, and learned a great deal from it and grew stronger together. I see parents struggling to jump in to “save” their kids. I know I am generalizing here, but this is the average I hear and see. I want to tell all parents: please live your own lives! It is the healthiest thing to do for you and for your young adult children!

On a different topic now, the hot one on the market: the same sex marriage. My stand hasn’t changed dramatically over the last 10 years but after living in the California and holding a leadership position at a very prestigious company, I have learned a thing or two about diplomacy, about healthy debates, about keeping an open mind and actively listening to all parties, and eloquently express my own. I have many openly gay friends, more than many Romanians have. And I love them, and I admire their work ethic and their qualities as managers and their kindness. At the same time I disagree with a boasting lifestyle. And how do we live through this tension? This whole journey through life is living with he tension between now and not yet. And I humbly pray that God would continue to give me wisdom to represent Him honorably, do and say what would not burn bridges but continue to remain truthful to my beliefs and faithful to the God I love with my whole heart.
I appreciate when friends ask me with a genuine heart what is my take on this topic and we can discuss it in earnest.

Change of topic again. I have a friend. She has “accompanied” me during the conference and during my vacation, though she was not physically there. There have been misunderstandings, and as she said “we are worlds apart” but I will never give up on her.
Marriage has reinforced my tendency to be stubborn, to listen and to speak-out even when it’s something someone doesn’t want to hear. It has paid off at school and in every job I had, and especially in marriage. Humility is powerful and freeing. Paired up with the belief that God can redeem any situation, I stepped back and objectively tried to look at what God is teaching me, when I might have misunderstood people and situations, and invite Him to make light. I continue to pray for my friend. And out of the blue she reached out to me. And again, we live in the now ad not yet, this tension which I don’t feel urged to solve anymore. We take one day at a time, with open hands.

Yet another change of topic. It is healthy to say no to good things. It is healthy to prioritize. Starting this fall, I am pulling back from attending some regular get-togethers, so I could start a marriage/couples class. Not because I am so good at it, but because I struggled as well. Because there is a desperate need for it here, and because we’ve grown stronger through the 3 years class we went as newly weds in California. In line with setting expectations, what I can promise is probably tears, aha-moments and many uncomfortable but healthy conversations between supposes. It is up to each couple how much they want to work for the happiness and fulfillment of their marriage, but we will be vulnerable with our own struggles and success in learning about ourselves and how to best love and serve our spouse.

These two weeks we went to the philharmonic (Dvorak), to ballet, to a 12 hour amazing wedding, to graduations and portfolio shows, had coffee and dinner with wine and friends, had ChezCoco sweets over coffee with my brother and sister in law, bailey’s cake with our god-parents, bought an awesome bike and on Saturday we are having a bike party through the Central Park with our friends.

As a semi-introvert who loves people, writing down my thoughts is therapeutic. I am often waiting for the inspiration to get it all out at once. I take pride in eloquence but I grant myself grace when I have little of it.

I have a feeling that we are slowly finding the best recipe, the perfect balance between life with adventure, family, work, church, friends, nature… Though it will always be a work in progress as all these ingredients morph. It is life after all.

1 thought on “Living in the now and not yet

  1. I may be the Mama of the group but your wisdom, Vio, is above and beyond most mama’s in the world. I thank God for how he has created you and love that your and Conrad’s marriage is one that is healthier than most. Your insights into how life should be balanced is above and beyond your years.

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