It is Saturday morning and I am home. Tomorrow about this time I hope to be in exactly the same place, home. I have determined to take the weekend off, get some rest, catch up on some of life that does not involve the chase of the next cool thing I want to offer for sale in my antiques and collectibles business, and just find my peaceful place. I have decided to hang out with my dog, Charley, go nowhere, do nothing but home-ish things and rejuvenate for my next leg of the junkin’ journey. This weekend is all about coasting.
The last three months have been such a whirlwind I probably could spend an entire week describing them. There was no real time for personal refreshment, no time for meals with friends and spontaneous fun, no time for reflection and blogging…just no time for anything but doing the next thing, taking the next step, climbing the next hill. Looking back, I truly marvel over how it all, at least so far, has gotten done, there were no real missteps, no stumbling and faltering on the road I have traveled since April 1. It all just…happened…and somehow, control freak that I am, I stayed out of its way.
To backtrack a bit, I received a call around the last week or so of March from a friend I have known for years. He is a property manager in the area and had a vacated property for me to view. The former retail tenant had skipped rent, left it a monstrous mess and there were many new items in the building that needed to be sold or cleared out. My company came to mind and he asked me to do the business liquidation. I agreed to take a look, and we met the next day.
As I toured the building and told Jim what I could and could not offer in the way of services, I felt an overwhelming sense of something I couldn’t put my finger on. I could only describe it now as a feeling of coming home. By the end of the tour of the property, I knew this was going to be the next location for my estate company. It was large and open, had attached office space, a bay where I could park my trailer and get it out of my home garage, and was located on a busy highway in the historic district of my hometown. A few months before, I had starting praying for a place to open up at just the right time, in just the right way for me to relocate and I just kind of laid it all out there and said what I wanted it to have, how I wished it would look, where I would like to be. This property was like an artist’s sketch of what I had thought, and prayed about, so I knew when I saw it that it was where I was meant to be. Now it was time to convince the powers that be, a.k.a the property manager and owner, of the same.
At the end of the tour, I asked about the property and when the amount of rent was given, I knew financially it was astronomically out of my range at the present time. I had a lease at my old location for 6 more months, I was not in the position to pay double rent even if I wanted to, and well…it just seemed pretty impossible.
But Jim and I talked, and he in turn talked with the property owner and told him what I could offer in the way of rent which was far below what they had set as rent price and also included a request for 4 months of free rent. They came back with another price, I refused knowing what I could and could not do and said I knew I was asking for the impossible. But God came through for me…and they ultimately took my offer. I had a feeling they would…His business IS the impossible.
Since the day I signed the lease, I have been in a flurry of building and fire inspections, paying huge deposits for the building rent, deposits for utilities, filling out applications and getting costly signs made for board hearings to try and convert the zoning to suit the needs of my company, hoping the landlord at my old location would miraculously sublet my offices so I would not have that rent hanging over my head for 6 more months, and a host of other things that also seemed impossible to accomplish. But to date, all deposits have been paid, all inspections have been cleared, all paperwork is in order for the zoning hearings and the planning department is “in my corner” …(well so far). Within 10 days my landlord rented out my entire office space. No advertised vacant spaces had been rented in that building in over two years so this looked really impossible, but it happened. I had four months free rent at my new location, and no rent at the old location, and this amazingly was going to pay all those expensive start up costs, almost to the penny. As I read over this myself, I am tearful and pretty overwhelmed by it all.
There have been moments, if I had been faint of heart, I would have quit physically if not mentally in the middle of this road. Right after I signed the lease, my 2003 SUV had some issues and was in the shop….$2000 later she was on the road again, but the bank account was more shy than I hoped for, especially at that time of start up costs. During this same period of time, the new location had to be trashed out of all the non-saleable items that the former tenant had left, and it was trailer loads of items, not just a bag or two that headed to the dump. Several sales had to be staged…five in all I think…to liquidate the building contents. All my own inventory in the old offices had to be moved to the new location in the space of four weeks, and it was a massive amount of items. Two weeks in, I injured my arm and have only been able to lift it to my waist most of the moving time. I have had most of my help moving from Dwight, who has health issues himself, and 63 yr old Barbara, and somehow the impossible happened and it was moved. I had four estates that got processed and accomplished within the same 6 week period and impossibly, those were done, closed, and cleared. My oldest grandchild, Lorelai, had serious surgery during this same period of time. Sadly, Dwight and I lost Brendon, our oldest male grandchild during this same 6 weeks and were both under that stress and sadness. So many other things I could describe…ruts in the road…opportunities to detour and quit…but I knew one thing deeply in my gut. Most of a person’s growth of character, building of strength, and ultimate perseverance happens when you are in the middle of the road you have set upon.
We all have dreams. We all have the capability and the tools to make those dreams come true. The difference in those who only dream, and those who dream and do, is the way they handle the middle of their road. Because most of the road in dream making is lived in the middle. If you hesitate or you stop, the dream stops too. There is no elevator or escalator to the top, folks. It is all done in dusty sandals with a broken strap, and one step at a time.
Things aren’t always easy, but they are always possible in this life. There are times you just have to know that you know that you know…then lean in hard, and hang on. Those that hesitate and stop for a moment will get run over. Those that step back, often fall into a hole of helplessness.
One of my favorite motivators has been the story of the fallen donkey. A farmer heard loud braying one day and went out to investigate. He discovered his donkey had fallen into a hole in the road leading to the barn, and was so far down it would be impossible and quite costly in time and effort to pull him out, and in the meantime the donkey would be suffering and ultimately die anyway. He enlisted the help of some farmer buddies, and together they decided it was just better to throw dirt into the hole and bury the pitiful creature now to put him out of his misery. As they threw shovelful after shovelful of dirt into the hole, at first the donkey kicked and screamed, braying loudly and was fighting the dirt with all his might. Suddenly, the sounds stopped and the farmers assumed the creature had given up and resigned himself that he was destined to die in the hole in the middle of the road. But instead, the donkey realized the dirt was not an encumbrance, it was to be his way of escape. Each time dirt and debris and messiness was thrown into the hole, the donkey shook it off, let it settle a bit around himself, then climbed on top and waited for the next raining down. Imagine the surprise of the farmer when his little donkey lumbered out of the hole no worse for the wear and was free again to move on down the road toward the barn.
How we start our dream journey is important. Reaching the dream journey’s end is equally important. But most of the dream journey takes place in the middle of the road. And that is where the really important…and truly impossible moments…take place. When the debris begins to fall, and the difficulties come, it’s not time to be a quitter. That is the time to shake it off, climb up the hill of dirt, and wait for the next shovelful of testing that will take you to the top…and just press hard into that new beginning God has for your life.