Last weekend, we finally got to go to our happy place for the first time in almost 4 years! I sure have missed the Core Banks sandbars at Drum Inlet. They are gorgeous and never crowded and are just paradise. We bought our little house there in 2009 and spent as many days as we could out on the boat. The summer of 2017 my life was turned completely upside down and the peace of the boat days and sitting on the sandbar were my medicine. I vividly remember that September day, our last boat day for the season. The only things I was sure of that day were that our summer was over and my life was full of turmoil and uncertainty.
We soaked that day in. We stayed out there until sunset. We slowly idled the whole way home. I sat on the bow and just admired God's beauty. I wasn't stressing about packing up to get back home for school. I wasn't thinking about the uncertainty and difficulties happening in my life. I was completely focused on the peace that I was feeling. I wanted to truly know that feeling and remember it so that I could find it again.
Just a few weeks later, my dad took his own life. That peace became elusive and I kept trying to take myself back to that boat ride and feel it again. I knew what it felt like and I wanted to feel it again so badly.
That Christmas, we took a family trip. We needed to get away. While we were gone, there was record cold. The neighbor at our little "down east" cottage called to tell us he was walking his dog and noticed water coming out of our front door. He went to check it out and looked through the window to see busted pipes in the ceiling and water pouring out everywhere. It was so bad already that the kitchen island had floated into the family room.
Ultimately, with the amount of damage and the house needing a new roof anyways, the decision was made to tear it down. I was heartbroken. Was I ever going to get back to my peaceful place?
The summer of 2018 went by. Then the summer of 2019. Then the summer of 2020 was a pandemic. And they all went by with my happy place just being a vacant lot. As the summer of 2020 was ending, we decided it was time to rebuild there! On Labor Day weekend, we drove there and took measurements so that we could start making a plan. The lot has gorgeous live oak trees and we didn't want to cut any down. I had always wanted to be an architect so I was finally getting my wish! I soon began drawing. By early 2021, our plans were engineered and ready for a building permit!
The foundation began in March and as we watched it begin, we were full of excitement but also a little bummed that it would still be another summer before we were back. And that is when I had a crazy idea that was completely out of character for me. I said, "why don't we get a camper and park it in the yard for the summer?" My husband doesn't hear well anyways coupled with him being a man and tuning me out most of the time, I didn't get a response. When he realized he heard me correctly, he was so excited because he loved the idea!
So, about a month later, during Easter break, our camping journey began! Baseball occupied most of May and we finally got back down there for Father's Day weekend! We had the best time! Grilling out on the camper patio. Watching the stars (there aren't any horizon lights there). And of course, going out on the boat to our beloved sandbars! We packed up the cooler and the boat grill and headed out for an amazing day. The only bad thing about the camper is we can't take all of our dogs, but we had our old girl with us. The one that grew up there as a puppy. And it was like having a puppy all over again. She chased the seagull shadows, swam, and napped in the sand. She was as happy to be there as we were.
I honestly got teary eyed when we got out there. I had missed this place even more than I realized. I thought about all that I had been through since 2017 but I didn't let those thoughts bring me down. I focused on the peace. That feeling of peace I had felt that September day. What I discovered is that I am living that peace every day now. I had used it as my guide for so long that it now consumed me. And what a great feeling to be completely at peace! It doesn't mean things aren't hard sometimes. It just means your heart is consumed by joy and gratitude because that is what you choose to focus on.
It is the simplicity in life that creates the magic. The simple moments that are full of the most love. A walk down a sandbar picking up shells. Watching your child splash in the waves. A hot dog in one hand and a cold beer in the other. Paw prints in the sand. Everything in the world that I need on a little sandbar. Now that is peaceful.