15: A Miracle

15: A Miracle

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Find Your Happiness

A Miracle

Pleasure is very seldom found where it is sought. Our brightest blazes are commonly kindled by unexpected sparks.

~Samuel Johnson

A miracle has occurred in my life. One of many that have occurred in my sixty years. Some I am aware of and others wove their way into my existence so quietly that I hardly noticed, until looking back years later. This one started eleven years ago and as I look back I realize our ability to hear the intuitive whispers and step out into the unknown was a major factor.

My husband and I were semi-retiring. He owned a pest control business and I taught African drumming. Our children were grown with lives of their own. We were living in a tiny home in Seattle, our family’s home for the past twenty-five years. We had remodeled our house while raising our kids and had decided that it would be a perfect size for two semi-retired adults. The house was minutes from all the amenities: malls, theater, Mariners baseball, and restaurants.

On past vacations to wilderness and rural areas of the United States, I had often wondered what it would be like to live in a remote area, so different from our own lifestyle. I didn’t think I could live so far removed from civilization, but felt it must be very peaceful.

In 1999 my father-in-law passed away, leaving us his rambler in Wilkeson, an hour away from us. Wilkeson is an old coal mining and logging town with a population of 450. To me, Wilkeson was an adorable piece of history, but I couldn’t imagine who would want to live in such a small country town.

My husband and I spent every weekend clearing out his dad’s home and found it to be a treasure trove of family history and antiques. We spent many enjoyable weekends working and cleaning. The house was on a half-acre of land that bordered a twelve-acre lot. Locals told us, “You will fall in love with Wilkeson and move here someday.” I was horrified at the thought of moving from my beloved suburban home with all the necessities for an industrious, productive, creative life.

Months passed. Each Sunday night when we returned to our Seattle house I felt boxed in and stressed as we re-entered the world of freeway traffic and congestion. We longed for the next weekend so we could head back to the hills, forests, and friendly, gentle people of Wilkeson. Finally we decided to keep the Wilkeson rambler for a weekend retreat.

At this point, events started to move quickly. I felt swept up in a current I could not control. I felt unsure about our decision, mainly because the house would be an added expense and it didn’t feel like my home. Looking out the window of Dad’s house one day, I asked God to let me know if we were making the right choice — within three minutes a rainbow appeared across the pasture beyond our window!

We learned that the town of Wilkeson was trying to purchase the twelve acres adjacent to Dad’s house, with the intention of building a large housing development. We accompanied the neighbors to County Council meetings to fight this and felt if this occurred the peaceful country atmosphere we were starting to crave would be ruined.

One morning, after a council meeting, my husband and I woke up, looked at each other, and said in unison, “Let’s buy the twelve acres and build our dream house.” Where did that come from? Now I know it was just another step in the unfolding miracle. The twelve acres has a protected salmon creek (I need to be by water), a wooded hillside with old-growth cedar (my husband needs to be by forests), an old barn (my husband has always loved old barns), herds of elk and deer, eagles, coyotes, quail, and beautiful pastureland. Along with this decision came the realization that we wanted to be in the country full-time! Without too much intellectualizing, we sold our house in Seattle in one week, cleared out twenty-five years of clutter, and moved into the Wilkeson rambler to live there while building our new home right next door.

We decided to take our two-week vacation that year and spend it clearing blackberries on our new property. We planned on arriving September 12th of 2001. On September 11th, our world as we knew it came to an end with the terrorist attacks on our country. I am so thankful we had our beautiful pasture and hillside to work on in the following days. It was a truly healing experience. One hot afternoon we were sitting on the hillside, drinking water and resting for a moment when the bells in town tolled for the victims of 9/11. My heart swelled with a mixture of sadness, joy and peacefulness — life’s smorgasbord of emotions.

After that our lives became a blur… finding plans for a dream house — we wanted a covered porch, windows so big you could see the stars, a loft, a Jacuzzi tub, and French doors from our bedroom out onto the porch… getting plans drawn up and approved, finding the excavator, builder, subcontractors — shopping for appliances, carpet, lighting, plumbing fixtures, paint, cabinets… and coordinating all of it. My husband and I provided some of the sweat equity and for two years built our dream house. It literally went off without a hitch — we had none of the disasters you hear about when people build their own home. The process unfolded so smoothly that I knew it was meant to be. At each stage, all the pieces fell effortlessly into place. We were able to build this beautiful home for the same amount of money we got for our little 1,100-square-foot house in Seattle!

I need to mention that I was sitting on the front porch, in the midst of construction, one summer day, marveling at how I had come to be at this point in my life and thanking God for this turn of events. I had my eyes closed and when I opened them a deer was standing so close I could practically touch her.

We sold our father’s house easily and now live on the twelve acres, in our dream home. This unbelievable series of events happened because we allowed ourselves to step out of our comfort zones when the inner voices nudged us on.

As I sit at my desk, I look out at the hillside and the neighbors’ horses, listening to the quail’s song. I’m awaiting my daily visit from the elk and deer. I am so happy that we listened to our hearts and let this miracle happen. We are living our bliss!

~Margie Pasero

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