My Drug


A friend mentioned being unhappy in Chicago and I (obviously) suggested the he move to North Carolina. Another friend advised me to “stop pushing my new drug” and I flippantly stated that pushing it is half of enjoying it. The exchange and wordplay has stuck with me for a while now and I haven’t been able to shake the analogy. It would be unfair to give North Carolina all of the credit, although it tends to get a lot of focus. In reality, there is a “perfect storm” of paradigms that have converged in North Carolina, of which this great state is one.

So then, the question to be answered is, what are the ingredients that make up this drug?


I’m right with my God. I strive to live my life in such a way as to glorify my God in all that I do. It turns out that this seems more difficult than it should be and is more difficult than it seems. The net result of getting this right is a lot of satisfaction, satisfied in a way that nothing else compares. I don’t have a simple way to pass that on to you; however, there is a manual available. I’d also note that I read the manual through a few times over the course of my life, with some periods of intense study thrown in, and only recently sorted it out myself. Good luck with this one, I’ll pray for you if you ask. I might already be praying for you even though you haven’t asked … just part of the way this works.


In particular, that Love a man has for his wife. Approximately 18 years ago today (give or take a few days) Tracey and I began dating. It didn’t take me long to decide that I was in love with her. I told her so. When I told her that, I meant it as deeply and solemnly as it could possibly be meant. I loved Tracey with a rare passion. In comparison to the love I have for her today, it was a shallow love. I had no concept of the manner in which love grows and matures. Love is not wasted on the young, they simply haven’t had the time invested in it to experience  it fully. To that end, neither have I! However, I now have an inkling of how this thing works, and I’m ecstatic to wake up each day and find myself one day closer to experiencing what it will have been like to Love Tracey for fifty, sixty, seventy years.


Five children. Seriously, that is a degree of happiness a magnitude greater than simple multiplication takes into account. Hard to express how this works, particularly because I meet and talk to a lot of people who are miserable with their kids. Either you get it, or you don’t. Not to down play their demands up on me, how frustrating they can be at times (and in groups), or the fact that raising children (properly) is hard work. However, the net result is overwhelming happiness. It is euphoric to simply recount their names, ages, and attitudes.


I have the kind of friends who will drop everything to be there for me. If I call them, and begin a sentence with “I need …” they are in the vehicle and driving my direction before I can complete the idea. I don’t wonder if my friends “will be there”, I know they will with the same confidence that I know the sun will continue to rise and set. More than simply having friends who have my back in an emergency, I have friends who have my back in the mundane. When I mention that I plan to teach my kids how to move some dirt in the backyard on Saturday, a lot of my friends will nod and tell me what they plan to do on Saturday. Tommy shows up with a truck, some shovels, and a wheelbarrow – not because he didn’t have anything more important to do, he simply made that the most important thing. I pity people who don’t have friends like that.


County folks are my kind of folks, the more rural the better. North Carolina has this covered in spades, you just have to show up and you get instant community. Not the fake community I experienced in the suburbs – you know, we all live within five miles of each other and thus should be concerned with litter in the area. Real community, the kind where you meet an utter stranger by chance on Monday and are eating supper at their place on Saturday and they show up with a meal when your wife gets sick.  Yesterday I stopped at a gas station while Tracey ran in to grab some drinks, this fellow just walked up and asked me how the day was going. It wasn’t odd or unusual, it was right with the world. I”m looking forward to going back for a pit stop again in the next day or so to see if he caught any catfish when he went straight-lining last night.


I get paid to do what I love and excel at. Sorta like with the kids, it is hard to explain, I have met too many people who hate and resent their jobs, or the fact that they have to work at all. It is challenging, hard, and requires me to constantly improve. I’ll admit, some days I walk outside and would rather be fishing; however, I work for a man who would say “then go fishing” and it makes I a lot more difficult to gripe. I work from home! I love the company I work for. Sure, lots of people don’t like the company and/or industry I work in – but that doesn’t phase me in the least.


If any one of these things were “off” – I would likely not be as happy as I am with life. However, since I moved to North Carolina, all of these things have “stepped it up a notch” and simultaneously worked to create an atmosphere that I can neither get enough of nor adequately describe. It tends to get boiled down into “what a fantastic day!” or “I love living here!” It is never my intention to disparage anyone else’s life, locale, job, etc. I don’t even see it as a competition, other folks live where they live, do what they do, and either enjoy it or not.

Me? I love my life, I love living here, it is so good for me I wish you could get some of it too, even if you have have to obtain it vicariously through my experience.


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