Friday night just before eleven, I placed chocolates and a note on the bed ready to greet my very first Airbnb guests. Then I carried my tired self into my freshly painted, but not yet put together room and fell into my bed directly beneath the window.
I was tired. The kind of tired that feels like if you go to sleep you will wake up sick. I’d given every last drop of myself to the last 4 days.
I waited patiently with giddy anticipation for two headlights to appear in my driveway. Within just a few minutes, I propped myself up on my elbows and sneakily peered out into the darkness to watch the anticipated headlights turn into my driveway and pause before turning up alongside my house to the Airbnb.
And that was the moment pure joy filled my heart. I lay in my bed utterly exhausted as a full body smile made its way from my heart to my mouth. I lay there in the dark beaming like I’d just won the lottery. I had just done something cool, and the resulting feeling of elation carried me off to the deepest of sleep.
It was seven o’clock the next morning when my eyes popped open. Before I moved, I did a full body scan.
A bit sore? Yes.
Still smiling? From ear to ear.
The events of the last 24 hours flashed through my mind. I thought about the wine tasting room I’d cleaned the previous day and the moment when I got a glimpse of a diamond on my horizon. I thought about how I had just accomplished something in a very short amount of time that would make a big difference to my long term future.
I thought about how I had just made something beautiful. It was right there before my eyes. I may have failed in the past. I may have spent the last two years feeling worthless and incapable and that my best years had passed, but the evidence before me boomed loud and clear:
I STILL had something worthwhile left to give.
I practically skipped out to my living room and perched myself in the chair in the far corner of the room with my notebook in hand. The exhaustion of the previous evening dissipated into the excitement of an idea that had caught hold in my heart.
I evaluated my living room. I analyzed my kitchen. I mapped out the space.
I moved to the garage.
This is the room in the house I use to make the rest of the house look clean and orderly. I could possibly pass for a wannabe minimalist...until you open my garage. That is where the past projects, future possibilities and present disaster are contained. I did a quick assessment of the items it held.
I went to my office. I inventoried any useful items.
I now had a detailed list of resources at my disposal. I knew what I had to work with.
I emptied out my living room. I packed away family pictures and knickknacks. I put away holiday trinkets and any sign of The Evans Family.
I needed a blank canvas.
It was time to create a gathering space for Lifted Village. The time had come to take all of the things I loved doing and all of the skills I’d acquired and roll them together to make a place that added beauty to the world and brought people together. These are the things I love doing most.
I didn’t have funds to rent a place, but I had a house on an acre right on the edge of town where the zoning is flexible and the trees are beautiful. I would start with what I had.
I paused in the midst of emptying my living room into my office to act on an idea that had been tumbling around in my head. I put together a little bag for my guests and left it outside of their door for them to find when they returned that night.
My phone dinged.
A friend texted to see how the guests were doing.
I told her quite calmly that I hadn’t heard a peep from them, which is probably a good thing, but PEOPLE! Didn’t they know I wanted to meet them and talk to them and find out their history and how their wine tastings went this morning and where they’re going on the coast tomorrow and how long they’ve lived in Georgia and what’s been their favorite things about Newberg so far?!
I told her that I was busy containing myself and respecting their quiet little boring privacy.
In other words, much to my nosy disappointment, I didn’t actually know how they were doing.
I sat down on my couch and began to sketch out the rules of the game I was about to play.
Game: Building Lifted Village
Object of the game: Create a gathering space for groups up to 12 at a time. It must be comfortable, inviting, have space to create, cook, eat, learn and share conversation together.
Rules: You can only use the items in your garage and you have 30 days to complete your first Lifted Village activity.
With these parameters, I dug right in and sketched out ideas. I carried in items from the garage. I laid out the bones of the place I was going to create.
The next day, as I was dragging a giant bucket of sheetrock mud out of the garage, my phone dinged again.
It was them!!!
My guests. My first contact from them.
It was a text thanking me for the bag I’d left on their doorstep...firewood, kindling, lint, matches and a blanket. Everything they would need to build a fire on the beach, snuggle close together and watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
They loved it. And I loved that they loved it.
I had just taken a little idea and created a moment they would remember for years to come.
THAT is what I want to do with the next chapter of life. You'll find me facilitating happy memories starting in a little house on the edge of a beautiful town with potluck dinners, scenic outings and workshops filled with connection.
Creating joy brings me joy.
This month I've experienced that warm pilot light of passion ignite inside.
My soul has caught fire.