"We are the stories that we tell." ~ the late John Enright, Zambia, Africa
"Once upon a time, there was a little family who lived in a little log home in the woods. The daddy was a hard-working, loving man, and the mommy raised their fast and wild children who loved to run in the woods. The children did not believe in Santa because they knew that their daddy was a delivery driver, and he worked nonstop to bring Christmas presents to all the little boys and girls in their town. They did not see their daddy between Thanksgiving and Christmas because he was gone before dawn and home long after they went to bed. Their mommy put up his pictures in their room so that they would remember what he looked like. The children would leave him voicemails because he was not allowed to even call. He had no lunch breaks. The mommy would wake the children in the middle of the night sometimes just to see their daddy while he tried to sleep a bit before leaving again. This little family cried a lot at Christmas because they just wanted to be together.
Then, one day the daddy told the mommy he felt trapped and she started packing their things in desperation to leave that little log home in the woods. As she packed, she cried and prayed for a way out of debt and out of mountains of useful stuff they did not need. She realized that her children just needed their daddy. As she packed, she found she did not need hardly any of the items in their house. She thought about selling them but realized others were in need, too, so she donated 557 bags to the local Catholic charity.
She found minimalism.
She started saving money like crazy cutting their bills to 75% or less than their income. The house was clean and frugal but still lonely. Then, one day she realized that expansion was needed as well minimalism. Since she wasn’t cleaning all the time, she expanded their tiny business. It grew and grew until one day, this little family found it was almost enough to pay their bills. Then, with a wild series of events and lots of prayer and help, the family paid off the last payment on their little log home. Finally, the daddy and mommy decided to take a big risk. They made a plan. They worked all night and all day and all night. Sometimes they made great progress and sometimes they got way behind, but the whole time they were thinking about Christmas. They wanted to give their children the best Christmas gift they could - the gift of being together. The daddy wanted to be home for Christmas. By this time there were a few more children waiting for him at home, five plus one on the way to be exact. At last, by Thanksgiving, the daddy turned in his uniforms with his five children carrying in the last boxes of uniforms. The mommy cried.
That Christmas, the fast and wild children decorated the little log home in the woods and could not believe their shining eyes as their daddy didn’t leave from dawn ‘til night. They clung to him for days, afraid that their dream wasn’t true, but it was. It was a Christmas prayer come true!
Now, that little family in the woods still works all night and all day and all night in their little, now growing, business, but they do it together. The children help their hard-working daddy build and fix and paint. Their mommy still keeps donating items to the local charity, now and then, so she can keep working with the daddy in the little business. Today, this little frugal minimalist family has new dreams and new challenges, but they chose to believe and pray and work hard to create a completely new life where this Christmas time, they have the deep joy of being together."
Of course, this is our story. And, we are deeply grateful for the path our family has paved for us in living to the fullest. We honor my Uncle John Enright in this post as this week; he suddenly began his new story in Eternity the day after Christmas. We know that all great stories begin and end in deep faith.
Blessings for living your best story,