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SILENT MESSAGES

     I found a building I want to buy. It’s somewhat decrepit, but it sits on the rushing river that travels through McCaysville and I can imagine bistro tables on a deck outside, a perfect place for people to sit with a cup of coffee and listen to a flutist or folk guitar player. It could be refurbished – or torn down to put up a log style building. I was pretty excited, but when I called, they told me it was already sold. Sold in a day. Sure, I’m always a day late and a dollar short. They wouldn’t tell me how much it went for, but I bet it was a steal.


   I told Mark I had made the call and was disappointed, because it was a perfect place for a gallery and café, and a great investment.


    He sighed.


    I KNEW a sigh was just waiting to escape his lips to put the skids on my ambition. I guess, until I actually started making calls, he was hoping my cafe talk was just a passing fancy. Unfortunately, I don’t have many passing fancies. My fancies are like life-callings.


    He looked tired. He said, “Just write, Ginny.”


    He might have told me to go play in the street, only we have no traffic, so what would that accomplish?  


     I know what he’s thinking. We need to finish building our house first, get organized, take a breath, before embracing a new project. We are still tired from those last few years of FLEX, building a new building, dealing with the stress of expansion, selling the business. Then, there was the turmoil of refurbishing this cabin while we were camping inside – stress and discomfort is easier to take if, at night, you can cuddle up in a cozy home to get away from the mess. We had to lay our head on pillows covered in sawdust daily. No escape.


    And just because the cabin is finished, doesn’t mean the attentions this property demands are over. There is the fact that we keep getting great offers on the adjacent land on the creek now that we found a way to put a road there. We’re told it’s the best piece of property available in Blue Ridge for a rental cabin, and everyone in the building business seems interested. So, we are struggling with a decision – to take the easy road and sell it now, counting our blessings that we got this extra lot for free when we bought this dilapidated cabin, or dive in and build a spec cabin ourselves to sell or rent – a great investment. That would be like starting a new business too, for it would take effort, time and attention – mostly Mark’s. (Tired sigh).


   On our 50 acres, we still need to build a second workshop for Mark (the current one isn’t going to be sufficient for his goals because it isn’t insolated – we will use the current one for wood storage) and we need a barn.   In fact, there is so much to do on our land it’s intimidating. It could be a full time job for Mark for the rest of his days, considering the vision he has for it. He wants to remove a zillion beetle pines (cause they grow 50 feet, but the roots rot away and then they keep falling in storms) and he plans to make a huge lake where the springhead is erupting near the house. He has plans to landscape our land like Oz. Anyone who knows Mark and his way with outdoor design can imagine how busy he will be with 50 acres of raw land to mold. 


    And let’s not forget I have a year left of graduate school, we have to move into the new house this summer, we have to build a website and organize a new rental business if we want to rent our cabin (or do what it takes to sell it) and…. Well, you get the point. We don’t need a new café/art gallery to keep us busy.


 


    I think, for me, life is like an open buffet and my eyes are bigger than my stomach. And Mark is standing along side me, already full, wanting to push his plate away while I keep spooning on another lump of tasty fare saying, “Just one more bite. You’ll love it.”


     But caring for someone involves paying attention to what they need, want and deserve. And he deserves a break. And time. And some undivided attention from his spouse. He is forty and feels (and acts) eighty. He is out of shape, rundown, and instead of having fun sanding the logs that will be used for rustic detail in the house, he approaches the work with dread. It’s important that I am sensitive to his state, and do what I can to alleviate his exhaustion rather than toss a new project his way, which is like feeding him arsenic. I worry that I am killing him. Really.


     So, I will drive by the building I didn’t get to buy every day and trust that my calling a day late was meant to be. And I will tune in to my husband’s sighs and know they are very, very important signals about what I can and should do at this particular time in our lives. He won’t sigh forever – I trust that. And I need to remember it is my job, as spouse, to change those tired sighs to sighs of pleasure. (That, my friend, is a full time job in itself.)


    People have always told me I have a lot of energy. My parents and in-laws chuckle and say they’ve never met anyone that does so much with such enthusiasm. Even my teachers at school have said I have “energy” – Odd because they only see that small element of my world that deals with their assignments. How can they know? Anyway, it’s a comment made often to me. “Gee, you have so much energy.”


    I always poo poo the statement, thinking it’s off the mark, cause, heck, I’m always tired. I flop into bed at the end of the day feeling like I ran a marathon. I feel old. Beat up.  Sometimes, in the middle of the day, I just want to sit, have a cup of coffee, do nothing. But doing nothing just doesn’t suit me. When I do nothing, I think of things to do. BIG things. And BIG things require energy.


    I think I’ve figured out the discrepancy. I do have tons of energy – only it is MENTAL energy. My mind is racing all the time with ideas, aspirations, inspiration. Keeping up with the physical self is another story entirely.(That’s the kind of energy I could use an extra portion of, God, if you don’t mind). I resent that there are only 24 hours in a day – I need more. And I need some powerful vitamins to kick-start a body that is slowing down and causing a bigger and bigger gap between what I want to do and what I can do.


     I only have my own self to blame for the ongoing stress in our lives, so I try not to complain or act like I am a victim of life’s constant trials. We live the life of our own design, and I must take responsibility for making decisions that involving pushing forward through muck to see what is on the other side of the swamp. I could stay put. Be comfortable. But I’m just not the sort of person who is comfortable coasting. I am all about pedaling.


     Anyway, I am putting my idea for a coffee shop/gallery on hold – until we are settled into our home and I graduate. I need to see where the dust lands from the huge life reconstruction project we have taken on – THEN see what direction we should take next. Until then, I will channel my energies into writing. I haven’t exactly given that the attention it deserves. I’m writing books, but doing nothing at all to sell them.


     Anyway, I will know when it’s time to break ground on a new adventure. It is simply a matter of listening, and respecting, my husband’s sighs.


     Huge messages lie in silence.

About Ginny East Shaddock

Director of Heartwood Retreat Center, Ginny is also a writer. This is her personal blog with essay form writing about life and reflection. My entries are often lengthy and random, because I'm not here to promote or sell anything. I'm not expecting followers - just find this format a good place to think with the pen.

One response »

  1. Jaime Woodman Saunders

    I know what you mean about Mark and landscaping! I can remember some long weekends digging up grass and laying down weed blocker! BUT, I got to dance for practically nothing! :)Believe me, if I had the money right now, I’d jump on a plane and visit so I could help Mark out a little. We always worked well together.

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