We were sitting on the edge of the dock, legs crossed, or maybe our feet were dangling in the water of the Minnesota lake. I was weeping. She was puzzled, patient and looking for an answer. It was almost July 4th.
She asked what I needed, what would ease my sadness, end the salty tears dripping down my cheeks. I must have looked a sight. I wept as if tragedy had taken away something irreplaceable.
It had in a way. I'd been single for a few years. My kids had flown the nest and I wasn't sure they even looked back to check on me. When I stretched out my arms in my imagination, I was alone. I touched no-one and no-one reached for me.
I couldn't remember what joy felt like. Spontaneous laughter was a faint memory. I was so lost. I thought that buying a house on the lake would somehow fill me up. It was a longed for dream.
But now the extra two bedrooms haunted me with their emptiness. I'd counted on this visitor spending the next few days with me. We'd dawdle over breakfast. Read together on the upstairs balcony. Maybe even swim or at least wade in the still cool lake.
I couldn't articulate what I needed. I lacked the skills and experience to peel away the layers of intense mixed emotions to find the answer. And I was confused about the difference between need and want.
Eventually, I asked for some quality time together. She was glad to give that. We made a plan. I stopped crying. I began thinking and praying about learning what I wanted, what I needed, and the difference between the two. As I became a Bible reader and lover, took Bible studies, came to take my tears and confusion to the Lord, I grew in understanding. I am much older now, and I think wiser. I no longer own that house on the lake. Didn't own it for long. I wanted it but I did not need the high financial cost of heating it in the winter, paying for snow removal, and septic and well repairs .Turned out the roof leaked. A buyer was willing to take on all those costs. I moved into a small bedroom in a run-down house owned by a friend. I did not own my own home or live on my own for several years.
I miss that big house on that Minnesota lake yet. But I thank God for my life and for the small, well-used double wide mobile home I share with my best friend and spouse. My life is rich and I have had adventures, experiences and opportunities. I still do. God is good. Life can be hard at times but God is good.
I hope you are experiencing the goodness of God in your life and that you know the difference between need and want.