Wednesday, May 4, 2011

#1 - An acre of land is THIS big?

Sometimes everything can be going along nicely and you are exactly where you want to be, but a life event might unexpectedly come along and turn your life topsy-turvy. My brush with death changed everything for my family.

Living within minutes to downtown Houston, Texas, I am close enough for city comforts and conveniences. Our Houston address gave us quick access to just about anything we wanted. However, after becoming ill, my comfort could no longer be found in a master-planned, structured neighborhood in H-Town.

Houston's world-renowned Medical Center failed me during my greatest time of need. They missed my diagnosis, repeatedly. I did have a rare disease, but with classic symptoms. A few proper tests would have been great, but the doctors didn't even process logical thoughts in the right direction. My saving grace was found in a "small town" hospital.

I actually ended up in the small hospital after being discharged from a big city hospital. Again, I rapidly deteriorated. We simply didn't feel it worthwhile to take an emergency ambulance ride back into Houston's Medical Center for the same dead-end answers. My husband made the life saving decision to send me to a local, "small" town hospital in the outskirts of Houston. I was 33 years old and coded during this hospital visit. After that event, the puzzle pieces were put together and I was given a second chance at life.

This experience greatly helped to alter my view of the "Big City" in a way that could not be reversed. Even though I still love Houston and have excellent medical care here, my experience made me face the sour fact that my reliance on big-city-minds had come to an abrupt, life-altering halt.

All of this happened back in 2001. Sadly, my diagnosis was long delayed and I had deteriorated severely. In my prolonged weakened state, life at our house was suffering the impact in every angle imaginable. Tough decisions were in order. We sold our house and moved into my parents' home for the help we needed with our two young daughters. My poor mother was run ragged by all the trips back and forth to help. All of us being under the same roof was simply a necessity.

I didn't start out wanting to own a farm because I was still too sick to stand upright for more than five minutes, but I felt compelled to immediately purchase land after selling our home. I insisted we still own real estate. I didn't know if I'd recover enough to dream big dreams any more, but I wasn't ready to give up. As a family, we still needed a place to call "home." Even if I was still too sick to be at home by myself during the day, we could own land.

We found just at 9 acres (I often round off to "just under ten") on the Internet. Less than two hours away from Houston, we found our future site for dreams to be sown. It was the best buy we'd ever make. God was shining down on us during our difficult times.

The funny part of this process was, as a city girl or suburban gal, I had no true grasp of how big one acre of land actually was. It would be an eye-opener and jaw-dropper to realize we could probably fit 40 of our "typical" neighborhood homes on our piece of land. The actual size of one acre became my new education.

Suddenly, having a little piece of property to call our own had blossomed into excited dreams for our rejuvenated future. Visit upon visit to our land, I found with amazement that raw earth can be healing. No fancy house needed. No big salary required. No need to make an impression. The land accepted me as I was. The towering trees surrounded me, protected me and sheltered me. The sounds of the birds spoke my new language. Fresh smells mingled and awakened my city-dulled awareness.

I noticed every little thing in life now. Before my illness, I'd been far too busy to STOP. I mean completely stop. Now, I didn't have a choice, so I quit rebelling and learned to focus on my environment. Our land helped to propel me from a long period of darkness to where I could once again stand in the sun, physically and emotionally. Little did I know, this land would provide many more moments of healing tenderness for years to come. Even though we couldn't yet live in our own forest, I found that running your fingers through a bit of dirt can be like medicine flooding your veins.

And the land became a part of me.

Starting out as a big mess, but with natural beauty representing life...birth,
growth, decay, death...rejuvenation.

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