What does ‘Letting Go’ mean to you? It’s a common phrase; you’ve no doubt heard it many times. It applies to animate and inanimate objects. It applies to family relationships, jobs, homes, friends, pets and food cravings. It even applies to beliefs and ideals. I suspect the longer you’ve been attached to something, the harder it is to let go.
Is it a matter of detaching, of no longer caring? Is it a physical action, a mental construct or an emotional state? Maybe it is a combination of all of this. It seems to me that the incentive to let go is the freedom that replaces the attachment. Trying to hang on can be hard work. Letting go opens up space for something new to come in.
If you have been following my blog, you are aware that my mother passed over a few months ago and that I’ve been ‘home’ in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, finalizing her estate. This story is a continuation of that time which is filled with opportunities to let go.
One of the hardest ‘letting go’ events of my life has just taken place. It’s an inanimate object. It is the family cabin that my father, mother, brothers, husband and I built in the early 70’s. My father was the foreman, of course, of that makeshift building crew, my mother the cook. The rest of us just did what we were told. We were really good at fetching whatever my dad needed next! We also gained skills holding the other end of something. My dad was a travelling salesman all of his life. Obviously, he was good at sales. But what he really enjoyed was working with his hands. He did all the plumbing, electrical work, window framing, built the deck, built the fireplace, laid the carpet, and installed the kitchen cupboards. It’s a testament to his craftsmanship that it looks as good today as it did the summer we first built it.
I have known for several months that the time had come to sell the cabin. It isn’t getting used much now with me in Australia and my kids living elsewhere as well. Although still living in Montana and not that far from the cabin, my brother owns a business and a farm so rarely can find time to make it over the mountains to the cabin. The maintenance in a general up-keep sort of way, the property taxes and insurance make it a costly luxury that would be ok if it was getting a lot of use, but it wasn’t. So I had been floating the idea with the family that I thought we should sell it. My kids were sad but accepting of the practicality of it. My brother, understandably, was reluctant. I didn’t want to push him so I patiently waited for him to draw his own conclusions about what was best. Finally, late in the summer, he agreed that we should see “what interest might be out there.”
It’s a cute cabin, in good condition, in God’s own country but it required a few miles of dirt road to get there, a four wheel drive entrance, and someone who was willing to work with a gravity fed water system, to name a couple of the considerations that would make it not everyone’s cup of tea.
I had decided the best way to market the cabin was to send an email to the other association members on the ranch where the cabin is. The email went out on Tuesday and the cabin was sold by Saturday evening. But wait, it gets even better.
We had more than one interested buyer. So there was a short but significant bidding exchange. We ended up getting more than we were asking or expecting.
The new owners are people who we have been associated with for nearly 50 years. Her parents were founding members with my parents of the ranch association. They have been coming to the East Rosebud valley for as long as we have and they love it just as much as we do. They love the cabin just the way it is – although I’m not attached haha – to them keeping it the same, they can’t imagine what changes would need to be made.
If all of that wasn’t good enough, they are going overseas and won’t be using the cabin for the rest of the summer of 2018 so they offered for me to stay until my scheduled departure date at the end of September and my brother was invited to come spend some time at the cabin in October, when he can finally close the door on his shop for a week without losing too much money. The summer tourists will have gone and the winter skiers will not have arrived yet. In exchange, my brother will drain the pipes and close the cabin as usual, before the first frost.
It couldn’t have been much easier – or better. Who would have thought it could be so effortless? Obviously our timing was right.
The buyer was in place, although he had been and gone for the summer so had to fly back! I still cared a great deal about the cabin, the mountains of Montana and my brother’s willingness to sell. So, for me, it seems like ‘not caring’ is not a criteria for ‘letting go.’ It is possible to care about something or someone and still let go.
It did cross my mind at times that I was letting my parents down, that they would be disappointed. But that was just a mental construct that didn’t feel true in my heart.
That Saturday night when my brother and I decided to accept the offer and call it a deal, I tried to call the buyer but he didn’t answer the phone. It was sunset and I suspected he was walking down by the river. I put on my shoes and walked down the mountain and found him there where I thought I would. As I shook his hand and said, “We have a deal,” tears flooded my eyes and I let go of the cabin that we had built and loved for 48 years.
I could feel the space opening before me for whatever will come next.
Gayle Cue loves writing about life, reflecting on every day miracles and pondering on the big picture.
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