Waking up at my cottage is always pure blissss.
The little room my sisters and I sleep in smells like, well, COTTAGE. Which I guess could be described as pine needles and warmth and family, if you know what I mean. The sound of the waves lapping the shore of our beach at Papineau Lake is the sound of waves out of a movie. The whole cottage is a dream, and I am torn between wanting the whole world to admire it and wanting to keep it all to myself.
This morning I woke and made myself a chai tea and mixed cinnamon toast crunch with puffed kamut and nature’s path cereal for breakfast. I finished the bowl with almond milk and blueberries, and brought it along with the tea and a book called “Miracle at the Higher Grounds Cafe,” which I had given my sister as a birthday gift that she just finished, to the beach, where my parents were already sat out, laughing. There’s an exchange that happens at the cottage that doesn’t happen anywhere else, among everyone. The lake makes you smile, I swear by it. Every feeling of nostalgia crept in as I plucked a lawn chair and spooned cereal, staring out at what my Oma calls a “Papineau Day.” The wind rippling the lake, the sun beams streaming on the sand, memories flood back and EVERY SUMMER that I am here, I reflect on the last time I was here.
Last summer at the cottage feels like… Oh… Mere days ago. And yet last summer at the cottage, I didn’t know Johnny, I was caught up in a friendship drama that seemed neverending, and I had never taken a class at Wilfrid Laurier. I had ombré hair, was not a Starbucks barista, and most significantly and over-archingly, I wasn’t in a truly engaged relationship with my Lord and Saviour. So many changes, so much new, and so much to reminisce on. Every year our dinner conversations are so warm and laughy as we talk about stories from the past… and I remember a different “cottage” feeling, remember the “cottage” of when I was four years old, the cottage that was a far away dreamland of only summertime and that meant Aerosmith music and sand castles and swimming… ALL. Day. Running to the creek to catch frogs and always, always busy. And I remember the cottage of when I was seven years old, the cottage of playing all day with our neighbour, Lydia, of visiting her cottage and feeling like the world was so different, of boating across the lake for bubble gum ice cream and walks along the beaches to discover ever more beauty. The cottage of when I was ten was the cottage of carnivals, the cottage of Lydia, Krystal, Courtney, Lydia’s friend Virginia, and I putting months of work into sending invitations across the lake and putting a performance right on our beach, complete with a haunted house, movie booth, and sandcastle contest. That was the cottage where limits seemed endless. And I remember the cottage of when I was thirteen. That cottage was full of learning and talking, of reading 10 books in a two week period and marvelling at my opa’s wisdom and loving and feeling so grateful for my Oma and rowing the canoe on my own and touching the bottom sand of the lake deeper than ever before. And I remember the cottage of when I was fifteen. The first year I didn’t get so excited for my oma and opa’s dinners, the first year I was afraid to come to the cottage in the first place, the first year food was put in front of me and I cried and that seemed more significant than tanning outdoors and spending time with my family. And the cottage of today. I look back and marvel at the kid who was always climbing, running, and swimming. And I look at these cottage and recognize, really do that man, THEY are ONE cottage. While I changed and was broken down and built up it remained, as it has since it was built by my Oma’s parents decades ago. And as my Oma grew up here; brought my opa for the first time; when my mom brought my dad up to share it with; when they brought us. The cottage stayed the same.
God is my constant.
In life as we rebel and are pulled spiritually in different directions, God stays firm in His wonder and might. Yes He is always doing a new thing, but it is a new thing that is great and He NEVER leaves our side, even when we stray or are pulled. He created me billions of years before I was any sort of existence, therefore I suppose I did exist but in my Creator’s image only, and is that not amazing in itself. The only place I will ALWAYS exist is with my Creator, with His Son. Knowing that seems to take away the temporary and allows Him to fix our eyes on the eternal.
What is the cottage of today? Of eighteen? It is of new life. It is of recognizing that right now, the most important blessing is my family. That time with them is of the essence and time on earth in itself is a blessing. It is the time of Johnny’s trip to Winnipeg. It is the time of, yes, some eating difficulties, no fullness yet in appetite but hey, I ate cinnamon toast crunch this morning and haven’t eaten sugary cereal in months, praise the Lord! So the time of growth? Of becoming? Of learning? I guess that’s another ALWAYS statement, because the moments of the past also involved the perfect timing of my God who will never cease to amaze me.
After my breakfast, I read the book for a few hours. It’s a Christian read by author and pastor Max Lucado, and I found it just as Krystal said after reading it; very lightly and cutely written, but good. I tanned out on the beach and braved the water for just a little bit.
At 1pm we all had lunch together. I remember blogging about this last year, but to reiterate, lunch at my cottage has always been a fun ordeal. A giant bowl of mixed fresh fruit that my opa loves to prepare; he also makes oatmeal, and my mom makes eggs and bacon and I– tradition since I was five years old– man the toaster with my opa. I ate oatmeal with puffed kamut, NOT ORGANIC peanut butter, blueberries, and a drizzle of coconut milk. I also had 2 slices of spelt bread, one with a poached egg on top and one with raspberry jam and a bit of peanut butter. Praise the Lord… all these foods (besides the oatmeal) are so different for me…
At around 3:30, I was sittin out, thinking about how much I yearned for Johnny’s voice. I turned my phone over and saw that I had missed a call from him just by a minute. I called him back, and immediately the sound of his voice set me at an ease and sprang tears to my eyes. We could only catch up for a few minutes, and I so look forward to talking tomorrow for longer. He is now IN WINNIPEG, with a beaming and encouraged Spirit, keeping well.
Today we had to leave in order to get Krystal home for work tomorrow at 8am. So after lunch I spent more time with my sisters, filming bits of our music video, reading, packing up and cleaning. We did our Bible study out front in my very favourite spot in the world and said our goodbyes to my grandparents and hit the road.
When we got to Bancroft, we hit up a plaza with a Subway and a Timmies. I ate a salad with turkey and a plain donut for dinner.
The rest of the car ride was blessed as well. Upon arrival home I was exhausted, and still am! The multitude of things on my to do list will have to wait till morn.
Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.