Thursday, June 9, 2016

On Keeping An Open Mind: The Joy Is In The Journey



  In this life we would best beware of saying that a particular action is "something we would never do" or "somewhere we would never live" or a trip we "would never take". Life has in interesting way of providing the exact circumstance for which to have us eat our words. Perhaps this is God at work demonstrating for us that although we have free choice, that he is in control, and will provide the opportunities for such choices. I remember that one of my friends who was most certain when we were teens that she "would never divorce" and of course, she has, twice.  I have also done a number of things I believed I would not do. Today, I was remembering one of them.
               Some years ago now, my husband, our four children at that time, and myself were living in a large suburban home in Virginia. The home was lovely, and it was a relatively easy commute for my husband to work and for our kids to go to Tae Kwon Do, Civil Air Patrol and flying lessons etc. There were also several universities within commuting distance when the time came. Still we were looking for larger acreage where we might build and where our children might know the joys of raising animals and perhaps horses.
               I perused lots of land ads in a variety of newspapers and occasionally on the internet. A particular ad surfaced at the time, and because the cost per acre was reasonable, we decided to take a look.  The land was a couple of hours from our home. It was a bit like an expedition just to go up and look at it along with all the kids, the youngest of whom was still a baby.  The road to the property was winding, hilly, hazardous, and a bit foreboding.  In some parts of the mountain trail trees on both sides of the road created a canopy over the cars. In summer, that would be nice, but in winter, I could see that collapsing trees could block the road.  There were almost no houses visible along the road, although I later learned that there were a few quite a distance off the road that were simply not visible from it.  On one of our first expeditionary trips, we saw a black bear. In winter, on the way up there, one could see a dumpy little village. I remember telling my husband, "I could never live up here. There is no shopping. There are no restaurants. I'll bet the power goes out a lot in the winter. It has the nature, but no essential services and not even mail delivery !"
               The land itself was gorgeous and very reasonable for that time. My husband wanted it, and I did not. In marriage, one of the most important skills is the skill set of compromise, and so we did. We decided to purchase the property "simply as an investment" because we could clearly never live there. We believed that the property would soar in value as time passed. Perhaps we would sell it as the kids neared college.
However, it didn't take long before we were making signs for our first farm. Our young daughter was drawing floorplans for "the new house at the farm".  It took time, but each element fell into place, and we built a home before moving there.  A few years later, we sold that farm at a profit and went on to build another, with more money down this time.
              I still rather regularly drive that same mountain trail.   There is still a canopy of trees protecting the roadway which is quite glorious in summer.  Trees fall into the roadway quite regularly in winter, which is the reason most people from these parts have a truck with a chainsaw in it.  We often see bears, but work hard not to inadvertently invite them to barbecues.   While our children were growing up, the "dumpy little village" I mentioned disappeared one structure at a time.  When we invested in the region,by building a home there, others did too. The comparative market analyses improved and people who owned properties either sold them or borrowed to replace and upgrade them.  The road department straightened out some of the hair pin curves and graded the road a bit better when it was next paved.  Families built country homes or farms on larger acreages just as we had. The parts of the trail that were gravel road were also eventually paved. The power still goes out rather frequently in this area, but what do I care ?  We have some solar with a battery array and we have a generator for true emergencies. The kids, before they went to universities, did get a chance to raise puppies, alpacas and now horses.
            How do I feel about living in the area ?  I think it's the best place we could have chosen.

       This is your reminder that reasonable risks exist to be taken. Whether it's a new job, a new home, a new area, or anything else, we should try to keep an open mind.  Don't do things you don't want to do, simply because the opportunity exists, but don't talk yourself out of the things you want to do because you simply don't have all the puzzle pieces in your hands just yet.  Take reasonable risks Sometimes the joy is in the journey.


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