My fantasy about this wonderful little trailer died abruptly this evening when I took Maria out to see my new fantasy, of a trailer we could take out into the woods once in a while. It was very inexpensive and it had just about everything, even a small air conditioner, microwave and propane oven in the back.
It would have been perfect for us. Maria was dubious but fell in love with it as I did. Until she noticed the actual price, not the price I mistakenly thought it was. My fantasy fizzled fast, and I was abashed when I saw that I was about $10,000 off. In my enthusiasm, i misread the actual figure listed on the poster outside. I was embarrassed.
The lovely older couple selling the trailer could not have been nicer, they only took three trips in their much-loved trailer, she had medical problems that forced them to sell it almost brand new.
It was frustrating, because Maria and I were both about to go for it until she noticed the cost, and if she hadn't that really would have been embarrassing. I felt foolish and badly for the couple, and also, disappointed. We would have had great fun in this little thing.
As I came home, I thought about hubris, and about my own hero journey. I told Maria that part of accepting my life was accepting my journey. When I set out on this journey eight or nine years ago – so many of you were with me then – I knew I was giving up many things, and also that I was getting many things – my photography, my blog, true friends, a home that I loved, a person that I loved. My true life.
I gave up money things. In my long and protracted divorce negotiations, I gave up all of the I had saved and put away. The recession took everything else, so did the collapse of the real estate market.
Like so many people, we had some hard years. I began to learn the meaning of empathy.
I went into debt that we have worked to resolve fully and honorably. I gave up a home I loved for another I loved, one that was much better suited for the journey I was on.
I told Maria I accept my journey, it takes me to good places and dark places, highs and lows, but acceptance means understanding what I can have and what I can't have. It is absolutely out of the question for me to even think about buying a $12,500 trailer, even thought it is worth that and more, I think.
I once could have written a check on the spot, and I am grateful not to be that person any longer. I have to think about what I buy and what I spend, just like almost everyone I know. I don't want to be deluded or addicted or to live without perspective ever again.
Truthfully, I had no business even stopping to look at that sweet little trailer, and tomorrow I will call those lovely people and explain my foolishness and stupidity. And apologize for wasting their time.
I know my annual heart examinations are emotional experiences for me, they often leave me with the idea that life is short, and I better live it. This is because my doctor often reminds me that my life could be short and I better take care of it.
Most days, I doubt I would have even noticed the trailer, let alone think about buying it. And how could I be $10,000 off if I was in my right mind? Maria pointed to the sticker, and I wanted to crawl into a hole.
The thing is, the trailer, like many other things, reminds me that I love my life very much, and I have everything I need or could ever have wanted. I lack for nothing. I love my wife, my dogs, my farm, my animals, my photography, my blog, my friends, my books, my daughter, my granddaughter, my donkeys and my sheep, my books. We are no longer in debt and have paid what we owed. I love the work we are doing together with the Mansion residents and the refugees, I am learning what it means to have empathy, the hallmark of the moral human being.
As much as we have gained, Maria and I have given up a great deal, and we neither mourn or lament it. We have walked on the hero journey together, falling into dark places, encountering magical helpers who guided us to safety. We will never get there, we will never get off of the path.
I accept this journey, and I was reminded once more that a journey is not only about where you go, but also about where you don't go, not just about what you have but what you cannot have. That is what acceptance means. This is the life I chose, and it is the right life for me.
I hope that trailer finds the people it deserves, and who deserve it. It is not for me.