Other legitimate questions have come from friends and acquaintances since Mary and I put our lake home on the market a few months ago. This is not a “second home,” but rather our only home where I have lived since 2002, and where my new family has lived with me since 2005. I designed and built this house with the encouragement of friends, a bank, and a builder.
Now there is nothing unusual about people selling their house. And to be honest, most people really don’t care what we do since it is our personal decision. On the other hand, just because our house is on the market, it doesn’t mean we are moving into the city of Birmingham anytime soon. Most people say it couldn’t be a worse time to sell a house.
And even if we do get an offer, we may discover that emotionally it is too difficult to sell and we decide to stay. We are open, and we shall see. We are living into the mystery and cannot know until we know.
The deeper question I want to explore with you, my readers, is why would any of us want to let go of a dream that has been realized? What process do we go through to leave something we love for something that we do not yet know?
For me personally, this is a process of grief. It is also a process of realizing new possibilities. But first, I have to experience the grief.
When I was a kid, I went to the lake with Steve Hope and his family. Steve was one of my boyhood friends who lived two doors down from us in Montgomery and his family had a cabin and boat on the lake. They would invite me to go with them and I loved water skiing, swimming, and riding in the boat. Water has always been life-giving for me. I loved hearing the night sounds of the lake and seeing the stars that I could not see as clearly in the city.
When I lived in Connecticut and had a day off from my church duties, I discovered a state park that had a lake where I could go and swim and relax in the sun. I loved skinny dipping when no one was around, and I still do.
After I moved back to Alabama and my divorce was final in 2006, Libby Potts gave me the keys to her family’s lake house for a couple of days. I sat in silence, staring at the water for hours, and felt the cool, healing water against my skin. I dreamed of the day when I could have a place on the lake. This dream seemed impossible on the salary of a chaplain who was struggling to pay off debt and start over at forty years old.
But six years later, building a house on the lake became a reality. And now, I have lived here for eight years.
I love living on the water in the country. I love the spectacular sunrises and sunsets. I love the wildlife of blue herons, loons, wild turkeys, deer, raccoons, and rabbits. I love swimming and skiing and boating though I have done it less and less, year by year.
Why would any of us choose to go through the grief of leaving a place we love? Well, our lives change.
There is a yearning for simplifying my life. I want to own less stuff, instead of my stuff owning me. I want to cut my mortgage in half this year and eliminate it totally in less than ten years. I want to own only one car. The list is growing. I will share more later.
What have you left that you loved? Why did you do so? What have you discovered? Do you have any regrets?
Thank you for walking this part of the journey with me.