I connected with the collective stories in Share or Die. While the book centers about sharing in the physical sense, sharing in the emotional sense is the core of the underlying message. While stories of pain and loneliness fill the pages, so does hope, revealing the decisions of people who regularly abandon their comfort zones and take risks.
If I had the opportunity to write a chapter in Share or Die, this is what I would have shared.
My husband and I worked to live not realizing how much money we were spending on “wants”. While I appreciate the value of earning an honest living, it’s often time spent away from home, working unreasonable hours, that temps us to spend money on goods and services that we think make our lives easier and more enjoyable. However, joy was missing in our lives. We were too busy to enjoy our life. We were physically tired and it showed.
“I want to quit my job,” my husband said.
People around him said, “You can’t do that!”
“I need to quit my job.”
After one year, the day finally came and my husband quit his secure job. Did we have a plan? Not really. And it’s probably just as well, or we never would have risked so much. We knew that we needed to shift the way we lived.
The monthly cable bill was the first to go. A gym membership was replaced with hiking and gardening and a discontinued lawn service. We stopped eating in restaurants and learned to make the most amazing pizza dough that we top with local produce. We sold a vehicle and function just fine with one, utilizing public transportation, bicycles, or our feet. We reduced our monthly expenses by hundreds of dollars, simply by eliminating wants.
We have more time to spend with others. We know our neighbors and we know their names. While I tend to feel proud about my prudent spending, my family would never have survived emotionally without the support of others. Some people have even anonymously shared with us. We know who some of the others are.
One early morning a neighbor friend called, “I’m leaving in five minutes to go pick veggies down the road. Want to join me?”
I joined her at the home of a vacationing neighbor. We picked enough rainbow chard, blackberries, carrots, squash, and lettuce to last us several days. I appreciated all of the produce. But what I really appreciated was connecting with my neighbor. As we picked, we shared life. And we also shared what we picked with others.
What I’ve learned is that we are designed to share and that the ultimate form of sharing is giving something away without expecting anything in return. However, when someone gives something to someone else, an amazing transformation often occurs. The recipient becomes more eager to share as well.
Our needs turned into wants. We chose to slow down and to recharge with life’s most basic needs.
Now we're both pursuing what we love doing…teaching and writing.
A family’s faith is restored. It’s definitely not about us.