The tiny cabin’s long and winding road


Chuck’s arm is healing slowly but surely. He is still not allowed to lift anything, and his 24/7 brace prevents him from extending his arm more than 110 degrees. Four times a day is a physical therapy routine including ten minutes each of heat, massage, stretching, and ice. The physical therapist says everything looks the way it should, and we hope to get a good report from the surgeon next week.

Despite Chuck having only one usable arm, we planned a cabin work day with a friend who has construction experience. Our goal: to finish hanging the doors and install the great window.

But a few days before our ambitious plan, we received some bad news: my mother-in-law’s scan showed that the cancer had progressed to the extent that nothing more could be done. In truth, we had been suspecting the worst based on how she’d been feeling. More than ever, the cabin felt like it could wait.

As painful as it was, we did as she said and took down the family Bible with the funeral plans she had written out years ago.

Let me just say that Dianna Bane is the kindest person I’ve ever known. When someone has a baby and Dianna calls to share the good news, she doesn’t say, “He was born.” She says, “He’s here!” She celebrates the presence of a new life, which is the way she meets everyone—acknowledging their humanity and their integrity, speaking to the person’s best self.

She’s generous, steadfast, and abundantly loving. She brings joy to a room. She is a peacemaker. Especially lately, she’s been long-suffering and patient.

And so we were all quick to answer her one request: to gather both sides of the family and have Christmas early. From the newest addition to the family born September 9th—Gus Bane Parsley—to her great-nephew Robbie Dixon briefly home on military leave, her family will gather tomorrow for a Christmas with autumn leaves still hanging on.

Letting Go as an Act of Faith

Let me be clear: I have a LOT of stuff. I keep things because I think I’ll need them at some point. Or better yet, I tell myself that the Styrofoam container or rubber band from the broccoli will one day be upcycled for some creative purpose.

I can be a hoarder sometimes.

Except that I’ve been living in Gainesville with only a carload of possessions. Now, three years later, I’m back with the stuff I mainly didn’t miss while away. I missed people (and cats), not things.

I still like my stuff. It’s a huge, fleecy blanket I feel safe in.

I was never a Girl Scout, but I wholly subscribed to the motto of being prepared for everything all the time. That is, until I realized a dark motive—the need to be in control.

I wanted to believe that with enough planning, I could prevent disaster. I could hide in preparedness, in distractions—anything to avoid shining a light on that underlying fear. I was terrified of the buzz of busy-ness dying down, of having the security blanket yanked away.

Letting go of things has become, for me, an exercise in acknowledging that I have enough—more than enough. That things will be all right. Or that if something terrible happens, there was nothing I could have done anyway.

That there is only love, and this moment.