The Little Red Cabin
My husband spent some of his young adult vacations in the hills of Missouri. Although he says he didn't appreciate it as a rebellious seventeen year old, he now realizes that this is where he wants to put down the final roots of his lifetime.
That's why back in the late '90's we bought a little cabin down in Missouri, nestled in the middle of the woods. It was small, and rough, and over three hours from home.
Our kids were teens then- and not at all thrilled about drawing water from the well, stacking firewood, or using a crude outhouse. And most weekends when we planned a cabin visit, the kids had dates, or ballgames, or dances that gave them legitimate excuses to stay with friends while we traipsed off to our hidden hideaway.
The only improvements we made were running water and a little bathroom with a shower. That made a great difference in the comfort level, though.
But, in 2000, we made the choice to sell the cabin. My husband had operated his own business for eighteen years and had decided to finally close up. In order to meet all our financial obligations, we knew that selling the cabin was the only way to come up with the money we needed.
It was difficult, but we had no other options at the time. In my journal, I wrote about that decision:
July 25th, 2000
Friday evening we went to the cabin to gather up our belongings and say goodbye to three years of wilderness life. It was nice being alone for awhile- away from the stress and the kids- and we had fun eating out and talking about our future.
I shed a few tears and it was harder than I thought to close up that part of our lives. We have so many good memories there. Camp outs, the river, (the night we stayed there without electricity and made shadow puppets on the wall), the outhouse, the swing, the rock bridge, the old pond...the autumn smells...and pieces of our hearts.
When we left, the cabin just got smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror. I suddenly realized that we had truly sold our souls- sold that peace and nature and tranquility and piece of Heaven- for money! For dirty old money!!
Yet, life is a series of lessons. Perhaps one of these days we can put that kind of peace back into our lives. My goal now is to buy back our souls one day.
I love the cabin and always will. But I know God has another waiting for us somewhere. Where bluebirds sing and clear water flows, and deer dance in the meadow...
A few years later we got back on our feet and my husband decided to buy some property down the road from where we live now. Every month when I wrote out the check to the bank, I wondered why we were pouring our money into a place we had no use for. But every single time I was reminded it was an investment and would pay off someday. However, I was always doubtful.
After I did a bit of nagging and complaining- my husband decided it was time to sell that property- and within six months, we found a buyer and made a good bit of money.
Now- it was time to look for another place like the cabin!
We had come across our old cabin on a real estate website a few years earlier and it was being sold for over twice what we had given for it. We were sad that it would never be an option for us.
But- I was wrong.
A new search showed that the cabin was available again at a reduced price! So, we immediately called the broker.
"Sorry folks", he said, "but it's been sold, The paperwork is being processed right now."
On a whim, I left my name and number and asked him to look for something in the area similar to the old cabin.
A week later I came home and found a message on my answering machine: "If you're still interested in the old cabin, it's available. The loan fell through last minute."
I was ecstatic! My husband and I made a trip that very weekend to see the place.
It had been ten years. The place looked rough. Nothing had been done to it in all that time, but we were still in love with it.
After several offers and counter offers, we finally agreed on a price and the bank began paperwork. Because of forest easements and other legal jargon- it was taking weeks for anything to get done. The seller had set a firm closing deadline and we were sweating bullets. Finally, with a week left, the Realtor suggested that we try another bank. So, with only a week left to get the abstract and bank work and appraisal done- we switched financial institutions and prayed a lot.
Miracles do happen. With all the obstacles and odds against us- and after ten years had passed- the cabin was ours again!
We spent last summer there- painting, remodeling, mowing, cleaning....and talking about our future.
It isn't just a cabin in the woods- it's our future home. It's a place where our thoughts linger after a hard day. It's a place where we see ourselves rocking on the porch and peeling sweet, ripe peaches... where we imagine chickens in the yard... and warm fires in the winter... and gardens full of plump vegetables. We see long walks holding hands...of our hair turning gray on feather pillows...of our children coming for Thanksgiving meals and Christmas snows... and the chatter of grand kids making shadow puppets...and the echo of laughter long after it is gone...
The cabin. This is where we will dig our final roots and spread them out beneath the huge oaks- until God has other plans for us.