“Your mom is the craziest woman in the whole world!” says 8yr old Athena to her 9yr old sister. It’s part of the game they’re playing. One stuffed animal is talking to another. Yet I can’t help wondering if it’s true.
With out much warning, I packed up my four children and moved to an island. In search of joy through simplicity, we left everything familiar behind. I suspect I was bolstered by the recent reading of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. They did it – set off for parts unknown. Why not us?
Why not? Well, it simply isn’t done, that’s why. The women I meet on Wolfe Island nearly all came because of marriage. They married someone from the island and that’s why they’re here.
“We came on a whim,” I say because I can’t think of a concise way to explain why we’re here. Partially it was for my sister and her family who live in Kingston. To be near them, we could have settled in the city but we haven’t.
The largely elderly population respond with enthusiasm when I explain I’m trying to settle here with my four children.
“This is the best place for kids to grow up,” they assure me. When they find out my three oldest children are already attending the Catholic school, they’re even more excited. Though many have now moved away, their children grew up on the island. Keeping the two schools open will only be possible with an influx of young families. The locals smile approvingly at the tribe of children I’ve brought. They want us here. They’re happy we’ve come. They understand why. This is the best place for kids to grow up. Of course that statement is debatable. Certainly there are benefits to island life – the water, the fields, the wildlife. But there are drawbacks as well – relying on the ferry, antiquated systems, being completely alone.
Alone but not lonely is how I’ve felt thus far. There is lots to keep me busy. The primary focus is finding a house to buy. I’ve put in offers on two places then had to withdraw them due to serious issues. Building occurred some time ago and things were done in a manner unique to the island.
“By island standards this is fine. But it obviously doesn’t come anywhere near current standards,” the home inspector has said to me multiple times.
This ran through my mind as I bought apple cider packaged in used water bottles. The throngs of people crowding into the United Church for the annual turkey dinner were in no way concerned about the health and safety infractions. This is how things have been done for ages.
Our stroller couldn’t fit into the door of the sanctuary and I wasn’t about to take the boys out. They love to run around and throw anything they can get their hands on. We stood in the small entrance way waiting for the meals I ordered to go.
Just outside of where we want to be.
That sums up our current situation. We absolutely love the island and know for sure it’s where we want to be. But finding a house looks almost impossible right now. After a few twists and turns, the place we’re renting has become available to us over the winter.
“You’re exactly where I want you to be,” I feel the Lord saying to me. But I just might be the craziest woman in the world. We left behind our lovely modern home in a booming community to live in a rambling old manor house complete with servant’s quarters in what feels like the middle of no where. We left the dearest of friends and everything familiar in favour of a land unknown. Now that it’s all said and done, I find myself thinking, “Oh, right. People don’t do this.” Then I think of how the Lord invited Abram to, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you….” (Genesis 12:1). The Bible says Abram went as the Lord told him. And so began a journey of faith with room for the miraculous. Like each of us, Abram was given the choice to respond to the Lord’s invitation or to remain where he was. Seems the Lord is continually beckoning us into the unknown, asking us to leave behind the familiar in search of the place He has prepared for us. That’s where we are now, in search of the land He will show us. I’ve no doubt God has a place for my children and I. He brought us here with intention. In the meantime, we continue to wait.