Slightly more than a year ago, my sister called to say, “You should move to Wolfe Island!”
Something in me instantly replied, “Yes!” Though I’d never been and knew very little of the area, the kids and I set out to have a look. With Branch’s adoption still in the probation period, a long-distance move seemed out of the question. When asked, the adoption worker replied with the same spontaneous, “Yes!”
Nearly everyone I spoke to echoed the affirmative.
Making little sense in the realm of practicality, it felt right.
I found an old farm house to rent for a month. In the end, the temporary place housed us for 10mths.
Buying on the island became a test of endurance unlike any I’ve faced before. Having traversed the foster care system for over a decade, that’s saying something.
Our time at the rental house was drawing to a close. We could only remain until the end of June. My offer had been accepted on a lovely island house. The bank assured me a mortgage was possible before I made the offer. Then, once accepted, the mortgage specialist suddenly realized I didn’t actually qualify for a mortgage. It was jarring. After doors closing on every other property I’d tried to buy, I wondered if God wanted us here.
“Maybe it was a temporary season,” I reasoned with my friend who was visiting when the news came. The words felt false.
I went about packing. The only certainty was we needed to be out of the rental house by the end of June. Where would we go? I didn’t know. The idea of returning to where we came from brought some comfort. There were friends there. An established community of faith. Those aspects were welcoming. Life was familiar. That familiarity made me sad.
Life on the island is dramatically different. I prepared to remove the necklace I’d bought myself engraved with the word “free”. Heading back, I would have to alter my dreams. Once more, I’d need to largely conform to the bourgeoise lifestyle in a region that is rapidly becoming another suburb of the dominating mega city. I looked for somewhere to rent. Scrolled through houses for sale. None of it felt right.
My sister suggested I try a mortgage broker once more. I had had a bad run in with one already in my pursuit of buying on Wolfe Island. All my attempts would make for a very entertaining book, perhaps called “How Not to Buy a House.” After 10mths of desperately trying, I’d managed to buy nothing.
I called the first company that came up in an on-line search. It was a last-ditch effort. I was out of hope.
The man assigned to my case listened carefully to the story. “I think I can help,” he said. I doubted.
In a couple of days, the mortgage broker found a credit union willing to consider me. The deadline for my offer on the house was extended. There were various questions and criteria impossed by the credit union. I did my best to hastily reply to it all. Then we waited.
Would this door open or close? It was the final one I was willing to try. My perseverance had been depleted. A big part of me wanted to go “home”. Back to the good and bad of the familiar. I’d faithfully pursued the good and bad of this new, largely foreign, land. I assured my children I’d done everything possible. I couldn’t tell them where we’d be living come the end of June. I didn’t know if they’d be able to return to the island school they love. The stress of waiting intensified knowing the difficulty of uncertainty for them. After so many challenges in their short lives, moving here wasn’t supposed to feel like this. It was supposed to be smooth and easy. After all, hadn’t God brought us here?
We packed and prepared for the unknown.
I remembered Raine’s words a few months earlier as we’d reminded ourselves of God’s faithfulness in the midst of other impossible situations our family has faced. “So, what we know about God is that He loves surprises and likes to wait until the last minute.” In many ways, I felt like the last minute had already passed by. I couldn’t understand where He was. I didn’t like waiting for this surprise.
At last the call came from the mortgage broker. “You’re fully approved!”
We can settle on the island! Relief washed over me. We’re settling on Wolfe Island?!?! Apprehension washed over me in equal measure. Despite having been here for nearly a year and knowing it’s what we want, the reality is daunting.
What have I done?! I’ve staked my claim on a sparsely populated island only accessible by ferry. My sister’s in the city where the ferry docks. The rest of my friends and connections are hours away.
I have a large parcel of land- nearly 3 acres – just like I’ve been longing for. But now I have a large parcel of land that needs to be mowed, maintained, and eventually cultivated into the dream that brought me here. While remaining elusive, the dream was less daunting. Now that the door has opened, I find myself marveling at the task.
Our move in has been anything but restful, still I’m clinging to the verse that got me through the waiting ….
‘The Lord your God will give you rest by giving you this land.’
On the weekend of the annual Island Garden Party we got the keys. This was the event my sister attended a year ago when she realized the island was the place for us. For a month I’ve been busy unpacking, waiting for internet problems to be sorted, creating systems and set ups that work for us in this new space, and letting reality sink in.