We desperately needed a vacation.
The kids romped in the yard while I dragged the suitcases, cooler, and backpacks stuffed with toys and books out the door. Got my purse, got my pillow, got my phone charger. Got the toddler’s cups and bib. Check, check, check it off the list.
Normally I’d be much more excited about a complete packing list (especially since I’d done all the packing by myself), but my grandpa’s death had completely dispelled the usual euphoria. More than anything, I just wanted to get away from everybody and everything familiar.
But we’d already committed to a surprise birthday party for a friend. I had to stuff my grief for a little while. The party was at a lovely home with beautifully landscaped lawn, ponds, and stone patio. Every part of the house carries an air of quality and appreciation for natural beauty. Like our hosts — straightforward, humble people who frankly enjoy sharing their tranquil environment with guests. This couple has worked hard, and they’ve been blessed financially. They seem eager to pass that blessing on by opening their home for various events and programs that enrich others’ lives.
From there we drove north to a cottage near a small lake. Our friends to whom it belongs described the place to us in tantalizing terms, offering it without any expectation of payment. Now, most of you who live in Michigan know that “cottage” can mean a sprawling, three-storied mansion on the sunset side of the lake. But knowing this couple, I expected a true cabin, something like the vintage ’50’s buildings with their wonderful rustic flavor.
I didn’t expect a place that felt like home.
Six peaceful, restful days in a pretty Cape Cod style house. Perfectly comfortable, extremely quiet. A small lake just down the road, and almost nobody there. My husband took the kids with him on outings, giving me a chance to rest and let my grief loose.
Two marvelous blessings. I needed them, but I felt that I didn’t deserve them.
And what, I wondered, have I got that’s worth sharing? In and of myself, not much. No extra time or energy or money. Nothing to write that no other person on this planet has not thought, felt, discovered, or experienced. Unless God himself chooses to bless my gift of writing and use it to help others.
Ah, there it is. A gift meant to be shared. Writing is meant to be shared. It dies when shoved in a drawer or saved into a nebulous cloud drive and forgotten. When the written word is shared, it lives, breathes, sparkles, and kindles life in others. When someone uses their gift or shares generously with another person, it starts an awesome, life-giving ripple effect.
That inspires me to write and to share what little I own. I hope it inspires you to use what you’ve been given. Nobody else has your exact combination of gifts, talents, and skills! We all need you!