Jim and I recently celebrated our one year anniversary of having moved into the cabin! We celebrated with close friends (thanks, Zach and Eileen!) who were brave enough, not only to visit, but to spend the night on our living room futon / guest bed. Gathered around a campfire, we swapped stories and shared laughter as the passing of time was marked by the blaze of the setting sun and the gentle emergence of darkness, interrupted by flashes of dancing fireflies.
It was only after we awoke the following morning that Jim and I realized our “cabin-versary” had passed. It was as if the occasion had marked itself- surrounded us in glowing fire and sunset, and the warmth of two close friends. The cabin has its way of directing the show. I am only the stagehand.
It has been that way all along- the cabin casting itself as director. Calling us from our former home just down the road (for those who don’t know the full story, we used to live in a nearby house on the same road). First, it was just to watch the sunset. With the cabin and surrounding property abandoned, we would occasionally stroll up the road (to sit in the very same field that our campfire now occupies) to glimpse the setting of the very same sun we had witnessed on our cabin-versary. The very same sky, ablaze. Less than a year after than our first sunset excursion, we learned that friends of a friend were looking to buy a home. Ours was not on the market. The cabin was not on the market. But we showed our home just the same. Sold it. Bought the cabin just the same. Moved in.
And set building plans underway. We would live in the cabin for just a short time- until the start of winter- while our “real home” was being constructed. And then the script was revised. The cliffnotes version of the story is that plans for a “real home” never materialized.
At some point during the winter and early spring, we decided to abandon the “real home” entirely. We would stay in the cabin. But there would be significant renovation- an entry, a new bathroom, a guest room. We set to work. Drafted plans. Consulted builders.
And then sometime in June, the script was revised once again. There would be no renovation, at least not to such extent. Our current plan is to bring in water, septic, and electric, but aside from putting in a basic foundation to keep the pipes from freezing, the cabin itself will be unchanged. From what I can tell, the title of the script at the present time reads (with a sense of peace rather than the typical exasperation that accompanies the phrase), “Enough is Enough.”
On the outside, it seems as though Jim and I are running the show- just making some changes along the way, as would be expected of a couple building their first home. The experience itself tells me otherwise. From the very start- the decision to show our home in order to buy a cabin that was not for sale- it has felt like stumbling upon a stone that has been patiently sitting in our yard, waiting to be noticed. Our role has been one of arrival, not creation. Every decision point since has been this way. The cabin, drafting the script, waiting for us to get it right as I stumble over the text, lose and regain my orientation, plod the script into being.
I am learning to listen. It is a lesson I learn over and over again. When it begins to feel as though I’m working too hard, my solution is so often found in surrender. But what do I do? What I have always done. I push harder. Remind myself that the good things in life are worth fighting for. This is true. But in fighting, I tend to lose grasp of the distinction between an obstacle in the path and a straying from the trail. Fighting may drive me forward, but it might also send me further astray.
Surrender. It requires trusting that the obstacle I face will not overwhelm me in the time required for me to step back and take it in. Surrender asks me to observe, to let go of my desire to direct the course, and to allow what sits before me to come into focus. Surrender and fight- to me, they require equal effort. The difference is in the outcome.
Jim and I have lived in this little cabin for one year now. My hope is that when the fire in the sky extinguishes into night, marking our 50th circle around the sun together, I will find myself sharing a campfire with Jim, and continuing to practice the art of listening.