Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Dream

When I was married, my husband and I purchased a ten acre plot of undeveloped land in northern Alberta. We were young, full of dreams and high hopes.

Our plan was to clear the land, buy and build a garage package (which would become our home). The concept of bringing in power, water, phone and gas lines onto this completely barren plot was not a deterrent. Neither was the fact that we would be living in a relatively undeveloped area up in 'bear country'.

I put my townhouse up for sale (it is very hard to write the word 'my' there, but I had bought the house on my own while my husband and I were divorced and the house was very much 'mine'. I was longing for joint ownership, hopes, dreams and plans when we bought those ten acres of land). My husband went up north and scouted out the possibilities to make our dream come true.

The townhouse didn't sell. My husband came back home and the dream fades into darkness there. Literally and figuratively. I honestly don't remember much about that time other than the fact that my husband brought home a giant dog ...

Our marriage crumbled at some point thereafter and there were scenes from this drama that made me realize at the time, that living in a secluded area with no one around would not likely have had a favorable outcome. I was quite relieved that life turned out as it did and I remained in my townhouse with our son after the marriage dissolved.

The dream died and all that was left was this abandoned chunk of land and the loan we took out to pay for it. Money, joint property and loans turn ugly when a marriage goes sour. Long story short, since I was the only one willing to pay off the debt, I became sole owner of the property. Despite our plans and high hopes, 'we' turned into 'my' once again.

This land was a thorn in my side as time went on. I paid off the loan. I paid the taxes each year. But I just wanted it 'gone'. The dream had died. I didn't relish the idea of paying for the lost dream each year at tax time.

Sometime around the time I purchased the home we live in now, I put that land up for sale. I can't remember how long it took to sell, but eventually I received an 'Offer to Purchase' from a couple and we arranged for payment by an Agreement for Sale (in retrospect, I can see that it was this payment arrangement that opened the door for the communication that would follow). I didn't have to think more than the millisecond that it took to comprehend the idea. "SOLD!"

That was in May of 1995. December of 1995 began the tradition of exchanging Christmas cards/letters/and photos that continues to this day.

I became pen pals with the wife of the couple that bought our land. It warmed my heart and soul to hear about their slow but steady progress as they turned our dream into their dream. That little piece of land was destined to be someone's dream. I was so grateful for the opportunity to bear witness to the story that land would come to hold.

Bit by bit, piece by piece this family worked together to clear and develop the land and turn it into their home. She spoke of the peaceful times before they had power that became cherished memories "... last night we talked into the wee hours, amazing how different things look in the candle light. A very enjoyable time we spent together! And we talked ..." (short excerpt from her letter three months after they moved onto the land).

I could feel the humble pride and joy as they made their dream progress slowly but surely as the years went on. I have listened to (read, via her letters) the story of their little family over the course of the last 18 years ...

My heart jumped a little when I spotted a letter from my long time pen pal in yesterday's mail. Inside was a thank you note for all of the Christmas Letters and request to "... please continue to keep in touch ...". Also enclosed was the memorial card from her husband's funeral. A strong and loving force behind the dream has died.

I feel honored and privileged to have shared just a small piece of their story. How often do we get to see our own lost dreams come true through someone else's journey?

Our dream died. But it lived on through another family. It was not our dream to be had. It was theirs. Thank you for letting me see it come true.

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