The Abbot should always remember what he is and what he is called, and should know that to whom more is committed, from him more is required. Let him understand also what a difficult and arduous task he has undertaken: ruling souls and adapting himself to a variety of characters. One he must coax, another scold, another persuade, according to each one’s character and understanding. Thus he must adjust and adapt himself to all in such a way that he may not only suffer no loss in the flock committed to his care, but may even rejoice in the increase of a good flock.
– Chapter 2 “What Kind of Man the Abbot Ought to Be” Part 6
The second reason I haven’t gotten excited about K.’s wild idea to move to New Orleans is that it’s usually me who comes up with the wild ideas.
I’m being serious. In the six years we’ve been married I’ve talked about moving to Italy, Prague, Malawi, Wyoming, Montana, Nebraska, Washington D.C., New York City, and the San Francisco Bay area. At one point, I wanted to sell all our stuff, buy a used motor home, and travel around the country from one small town to another, living off our wits, the generosity of strangers, and the modest income I would receive from freelance writing. (Two things you should know about this idea: First, we were traveling to small towns because I wanted to write a series of 50 essays, one from each state, about the challenges facing rural communities. This is one of the best ideas I’ve had for a writing project, and I’ll do it someday. Second, I devised this scheme after we knew we were pregnant. We were going to travel the backroads of America with a newborn, that’s how crazy the idea was.)
Not only is it extremely unsettling that the New Orleans plan is coming from K., now my best friend D., one of the farmers in my previous post, is saying the idea has “sparked something” inside him. I have historically relied on K. and D. to reign me in as voices of reason, and here they are leading the charge in the other direction. D.’s wife, Kr. (these initials are getting ridiculous), is still on the fence but she seems ready to flip.
We’re not moving to New Orleans next month. I think the only decision being made now is the decision to take this idea seriously, to pray and to research and to include it in the ongoing conversation about our futures together. I have to trust that my equilibrium will return in the coming weeks, and that I will become, if not persuaded, at least persuadable.