The Heart Not The Shell

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Bittersweet – adj.  pleasant but tinged with sadness

I have heard this word close to a dozen times in the last few weeks.  I guess you could say that it’s the word that fits the circumstances best.   Pleasing to the mind that we have one less wasted expense, yet sad that something we hoped for as our future and enjoyed in our past is now being passed on.

We’ve sold three homes and now two cottages, the last of which was to one day be our retirement.   It was the place we actually lived, without the hustle and bustle of everyday life, without phones and with minimal distractions.  We shared our time with friends new and old, enjoyed nearly 10 years of Christmas memories, and submerged ourselves in the beauty of the northern woods.  Hence the bitter…..

We rejoice in the plans that God holds before us, in the future we know not.  We know that His plan is greater than ours and that He will provide for us a retirement filled with even greater blessings than a house made of wood.  Ahhh…. the sweet…..

As the kids and I pulled off of the expressway two weeks ago to begin the packing and moving process, we each silently, without words, wept.  We drove the 8 -10 miles with tears streaming down our faces…. up the driveway, knowing what was yet to come.  When we first got there, we sat at the bottom of the driveway looking around at the cottage that silently waited our return, looking then to the leaves that have taken on their new look with brilliant colors of yellow, orange and red.   A memory not soon forgotten.

We managed to pack enough up that what was left over was significant enough to attempt a rummage/garage sale.  So, at 4 p.m. I went out to buy signs, put them out for the next day and we loaded up the garage.  I was stunned to see that by the next day at 4 p.m. we had sold more at that sale than in any sale I’ve had in my 20 years of hosting them.   We took the leftovers to Goodwill, filling an entire bin.   In two days we had cleaned out and packed up the basement storage room, two bathrooms, all the linens, the basement living area, one entire bedroom, 85% of another bedroom,  2 closets and all of the decorations/wall hangings except those on the mantle.  It took us one more day to finish two more bedrooms, one closet, and the garage.  We also packed a trailer, my truck and at the end of the trip another car.  There is still more to do, yet we are hoping that we will enjoy a little bit of our last week up there when we go up to close.  Knowing how much we can accomplish in such a short time, we are thinking a week will provide the closure we need to this chapter in our lives.  Prayerfully this time with fewer tears.  🙂

After we had packed up most of the house, we looked at the empty rooms and realized that it is just a shell… a beauty of a shell, yet still a shell.  The heart of the house is in those who dwelt there and the memories that were made there.

Some of the memories this trip:  Packing, rummage/garage sale on last minutes notice piggy backing on someone else’s advertisement without our knowledge, Elk farm where we saw the babies, taking senior pictures in the woods and in the beautiful leaves, leaf crafts …. we really like Pinterest! and all of the animals that came out to say goodbye!

Leaving, God blessed us with some amazing sights.  We saw the doe who gave birth to triplets this year walking through the yard, the wild turkeys walking by the driveway and in the yard (too many to count…)  we saw a beautiful orange fox with a huge fluffy tail and a bald eagle that soared over our heads.   It was as if they were all saying goodbye to us as we left our native state.

Bittersweet…a word that made it’s debut in the early 1600’s to describe something pleasant yet sad.

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The heart of the home!

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