As you grow older you’ll find that some things, no matter how strong your will and despite all your best efforts, they just aren’t meant to be. Those times can be incredibly difficult to work through and to understand but I can assure you that every time they’ve happened to me, it has always been because there was something better for me in store. Every. Single. Time.
As difficult as the not meant to be times are, every once in awhile you’ll encounter those times where there simply isn’t any other explanation for them other than they’re just meant to be. Those times are humbling. Those times can seemingly make time stand still. Those times can sometimes take your breath away. Best of all, those times make all the not meant to be times pale in comparison. I can give you one little example, it happens to do with the home you’re growing up in.
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou
As I mentioned before, your dad and I quickly began spending all of our free time together. We’d drive the boat out to the state park so we could fish out on the lake. We pretty much had it down to a routine, a routine I’d look forward to all week long. We’d fill up the cooler. We’d stop by the gas station to top off the boat’s gas tank. We’d pick up some last minute junk food. We’d pull up to the park gate where Jamison would pull out his annual state park pass and show it to the attendant. The one that had the beautiful picture of a boat on a body of water next to a waterfall. Sometimes he’d pause for a second to admire the picture before stuffing it back into his wallet. “Look at this picture.” He’d say with a smile. “I’d love to fish here someday.” I’d gaze at the picture and we’d wonder where it was taken, each time not being any closer to knowing the answer than we would be the first time we had the conversation.
It was during one of these many dates driving the boat out to the state park that we began talking about buying our first home and what we’d like it to be like.
Me: I don’t want any neighbors close by if I can help it. I hate the thought of neighbors being able to look right into our windows from their own. I had a bad experience with that once. I hope to never have myself in a position for that to ever happen again.
It’s true. I had a very bizarre experience once. It involves sleeping a particular way and later seeing a painting my neighbor had made of a woman, sleeping in that exact particular way. A woman sleeping that had the same physical features as me. Sleeping in the exact same setting as my bedroom if that neighbor happened to be peering in from his window into mine. It could be a coincidence, sure. Either way, I’m digressing and will get back to my point.
Your Dad: I just want to have my own lake…with a spring fed creek running through it! This way, I could go out and fish anytime I wanted right from my backyard. I could still fish other places with my boat but I’d bring back what I catch to our own lake. The fish would be really healthy having the fresh water running through it.
Me: Yes! Oh and it would have a nice yard away from the road where Delilah [my dog] could safely play.
We’d go back and forth randomly throwing in things we’d like our house to have while we were dreaming about it. And soon, we’d begin our search.
We began grabbing every home buyers guide we could find. We’d pore over the ads, I’d read a few listings out loud as we were driving up to the state park gate, showing the pass and cruising through to set the boat out onto the water. We’d set out and look at a house or two on the weekends. The search didn’t exactly go well. Often times what the pictures showed and what we’d actually see in person were two different things. Sure we wanted to have a house with a place to fish but we also knew that could be a tall order, particularly with our budget. So we looked at several options and kept an open mind. While some homes didn’t offer a pond, some had enough land for us to dig one in the future when our budget allowed. The homes that did have a lake typically had a home that was in shambles. It was an incredibly frustrating experience. With each search, the criteria of what we were looking for became less and less. Despite this, every place we looked at had something seriously wrong with it that we simply couldn’t work around.
After months of searching, we’d finally find a house we could work with. We’d put in an offer but the seller wouldn’t accept. We’d put in a counter offer, the seller still wouldn’t budge from expecting more than the house was actually worth. It was disheartening but we kept looking.
We’d come across a different home, it was beautiful. The backyard steps led us right to a shared lake. We quickly put in an offer but we weren’t quick enough. We were second in line out of three. The seller took the first offer. Once again we were starting our search over.
By this time, many months had passed and we were beginning to wonder if we would ever find anything we could afford. Then I saw it. A nearly new two story home, out in the country with a beautiful wrap around porch. The photos seemed too good to be true. I showed the listing to your Dad. By this time he was a bit jaded by the house hunting experience and didn’t feel like he had the energy to face another disappointment. After all, the house just seemed too good to be true and we’ve encountered those types of scenarios before.
It took some nudging but I finally convinced him to give it a chance. We met with the realtor and began the drive to the home. I could feel my eyebrows raising to the top of my head as we turned the corner into the long driveway through the woods. The trees were lush green, their branches forming a tunnel over the drive. It was a lovely sight to see.
We slowly continued up the drive and Jamison peered out the window and noticed a small creek that ran through the woods spilling into what would be our portion of the roughly 5 acre property. The realtor explained it was a natural spring.
We then turned the corner to face the house. It was every bit as good as it looked from the photos – only better.
We walked onto the beautiful wrap around porch where we had a view of the private pond just off to the side of the front yard.
The front door of the home itself was beautiful. The glass made beautiful designs that reflected the light into rainbows of color. The kind of door that makes you pause for a second to look at it. The kind of door that you’d later want as the background of the picture with your baby daughter because you loved it so much.
As we stepped into the house, it seemed brand new. We couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it. Each room we stepped into exceeded the room prior. Even the realtor seemed to be a bit mesmerized by all the little touches each room had. It was love at first sight. We made an offer. It was accepted. We were finally home.
A few weeks after settling in to our home we learned that a state park happened to be right around the corner from our home. One afternoon we took a drive to go check it out. We were in awe of what we found. A beautiful 140 foot covered bridge built in 1876 graced the entrance.
As we got out of the car to see it closer, we heard the sound of the largest waterfall in the state. We had no idea we had something so incredible within a few miles of our home. We also had no idea what we were about to see when we explored the park just a little bit further. The park has what is called a “lower falls”. We drove to the parking lot and began to walk up to see what it was. We only walked a few steps when stopped, both realizing at the same time what we were looking at. We couldn’t believe our eyes. We were in utter disbelief. The scene from the 2007 state park pass was laid out in front us. The photo that we would often pause to admire we wouldn’t have to pull out of a wallet to admire any longer. It was alive and well and within 5 minutes from our new home.
I understand this sounds pretty unbelievable. I’m not sure I’d believe it either if I hadn’t experienced it for myself. Your Dad keeps this state park pass in his wallet, years later, to this very day. It’s sentimental to him.
Sometimes things are just meant to be.