I have this “cabin.” It’s a shed. A nice shed made up to be a cozy spot.
I originally got this cabin for my dad. He wanted to move back to Ohio. I thought it would be nice to spend time with him after mom passed. I wanted that. Many people want to have relationships with their parents, even in trauma-induced situations. That was my dad, even if he wasn’t my blood. He wasn’t perfect, but he was mine. He’s the man my mother married, and she loved him very much. He was part of my life. I wanted that relationship to be the best it could be.
John was a stubborn person. He wouldn’t even look at the cabin. Although it was for the best in the long run, I wanted that to happen. It was a terrible idea. I was just mad that we went through all that preparing, that he agreed to do it, and then he wouldn’t even look at it.
I let that cabin sit. I was frustrated with it. Mad. So mad. He took my mother from me. That’s how I felt. He was a difficult person, and his decisions made my life a living hell at times.
That is what trauma does. It makes you feel one way while wanting another thing. It’s an overwhelming amount of emotions. Many people just shut down completely. They don’t grow up with Clair Huxtable as their mother. Clair was famous for sitting with her family and counseling them, so we all wanted Clair to be our mother. That is why the show was so memorable. That is also why the world was so shocked by the behavior of Bill Cosby. What a disappointment to anyone who grew up watching that show. The truth is the world is full of “Bill Cosbys.” I think that is why our society is obsessed with binge-watching TV. It is a release from the real world. A place where we can hide for a few hours.
That sounds so familiar to addiction. We all seek relief in some form or another.
That is why I can relate to homeless people so well. I know that feeling of wanting something better but not being able to make that better thing happen. Yes, I have a wonderful marriage. A nice home. Beautiful children. But those are not the sign of success, in my opinion. I think it is more successful in finding peace amongst a world of discontentment.
So I was outraged and did nothing with that cabin. Then I read about Airbnb. I started thinking about my cabin and cooking for others that stay there. I could have my own bed and breakfast. Those are my reality-escaping dreams. I want to buy a huge plot of land, with a lake. There is a house close to me that has all of those things. It’s empty, so it’s easy to really dream about those places. What if I could just win that lottery? My husband and I like to trespass on the property and sit by the lake. It is the middle of nowhere.
So how cool is it that I now have my own bed and breakfast. I may not have 1.5 million to buy that farm, but I can use what I have, where I am. The cabin is now a hot spot on Airbnb. And guess what every review says? Breakfast! Oh my, does that make me happy. I thought I was going just to make a couple hundred dollars. I wanted to put a beach at the pond.
God never ceases to amaze me. He is using that cabin for so much more.
One of my favorite things about food is how it evens the communication field. People that you don’t know, you can talk to them with ease over a plate of delicious food. You can sit across them and find out a lot about them. Sometimes we are so busy racing around we don’t take time to sit with others. Food forces that awkward connection with others.
Today one of my guests left crying over his overwhelming feelings. He shared his story with me. His story is very similar to mine. He and his wife were so open about the homeless. They also minister to and help with the homeless. They are not the only amazing guests. I have had so many. Almost every guest sits with me in the mornings, over coffee, and farm-fresh breakfast. We talk about everything. They are mostly looking for a respite. Here? They find peace and solitude in my back yard. I look at my backyard and see toys, a broken fence, tree stumps, and many other imperfections.
Why do we do that to ourselves, anyway? Why do we always feel like we are not enough or do not have enough? Then someone comes into your life and reminds you that what you have is so much more than what we realize. That is what I am learning from this experience, feeding others. To appreciate my life. How does that even happen? Feeding people teaches me to appreciate my life? I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I see a larger purpose in it. It’s hard not to.
God. He always brings people into my life like this. He uses food to do it too. I am obsessed with food. This is why. That is a success in my eyes. Not because I am a successful chef, or bed and breakfast owner, or that I can provide a roof over my head. It’s that I found peace in every aspect of my life.
It’s not like it’s all gone. I still struggle with anxiety and depression. Those are always going to be part of my brain’s make-up. But what God is doing with it-that is where success is measured.
If you’re holding back for any reason, especially because you’re angry, don’t. You never know what God is going to do with your life. You don’t have to be a “bible-thumping Jesus freak” to be used by God. He knows our stubbornness and will and loves us anyway. It’s his will that we undervalue in our lives. Finding peace is not easy. I cried today; actually, I cried yesterday too. It is hard to let God use us because it puts us in a vulnerable position. I hate vulnerability the most. Guess what? He uses that too.