And So the Story Goes... | Celebrate What's Right With the World
And So the Story Goes...
by Lauri Gwilt
June 2, 2018 - 10:38am

It’s generally not the ‘things’ we cherish or celebrate, but rather the stories that come with them. 

We’ve lived in this place on the east coast of Vancouver Island for the better part of two decades, which is the same amount of time I’ve envisioned a pair of lounge chairs for this particular spot. (no sense moving too fast on things… insert eye-roll) I had been on the hunt for some with a days-gone-by kind of feel that ideally didn’t come from a factory. Used would be even better - there’s already enough stuff in the world and I like the idea of giving things a new life. I finally got more committed to the search and after a few weeks, my mental radar zeroed in on these when I spotted them on Craigslist.

The seller and I made arrangements for the viewing, and as we two stood looking down at them, she told me a story.

“My husband made these.” she began. “In fact, we built this house together and went to GREAT lengths to find and adopt our two children from the other side of the world. We wanted to fill this house with a family. He suddenly passed away five years ago, and it’s been a long road for my teenagers and me. He was a terrific guy who was a fisherman at heart and loved creating things out of wood.”

She showed me his woodworking shop and some of his other creations; all clearly made with love.

“Much to my surprise”, she continued, “I’ve met someone, and he proposed. It’s time for another chapter in our lives, and along with this change comes the difficult decision to sell the house and some other things, like these chairs. I know they’re only ‘things’, but it’s hard to part with them.”

I was there for more than an hour, listening intently to many more layers of a most incredible story. I experienced a whole range of emotions as the story unfolded, with this person I didn't know just one hour earlier.

After hearing their story, these ‘things’ took on a whole new energy for me. As we loaded them into the utility trailer I realized I was no longer the customer, I was the caretaker. I thanked her for taking the time to share this story with me and had a big hug with my new friend before leaving.

That evening the chairs found their resting place in their new home just in time to witness the greatest show on earth. I reached for my camera to capture the scene and sent it to my new friend in hopes she would feel comforted in making this difficult decision, knowing that the resting place for her woodworking / fisherman husband’s labour of love was a front row seat to a place that was near and dear to his heart. “He would be so thrilled.” was her response.

About a month later I received another message from my new friend to say that she had made a canvas from the photo I had sent her, and that it would hang over the fireplace in her new home. And so the story goes...

There are more elements of celebration in this experience than I have fingers and toes. The connection that can happen between strangers, the courage it takes to release...anything, the unintended blessings that come from taking the time to create something, the value of our willingness to share our story with others and be seen... 

While we will love the feet-up-time for many, many years to come, to me the story that came with these chairs is the very best part. 

 

Anonymouson June 3, 2018 - 2:43pm

They are perfect G <3

 

Thanks, made even more perfect because of their story. <3

Barb Bozzoon June 3, 2018 - 4:48pm

Your awesome blog brought tears to my eyes, Lauri.  The "story" behind these beautiful, hand-made chairs will make every moment of their use even more meaningful.  What I picked up also in your story of the purchase was that both you and your new friend wanted to bring into your lives something that already existed and needed a good home - her with adopting her children from the other side of the world and you for wanting your cherished chairs to have that "days-gone-by" experience with them.  As I read your story, I had the strong feeling that these chairs were meant to be passed from her to you - it was destiny/fate, or whatever you want to call it.  You said it perfectly when you realized that you are now the "caretaker" of these treasured chairs.  Little does she know what an amazing caretaker you are!!  Just like rescued pets, finding a "forever home" with a loving family changes both their lives immensely.  One thing I hope this blog does, is get everyone to take pictures of the many "things" that do mean so much to us and attach a written story as to why they mean so much.  Photographs alone are not enough, we all must learn the stories behind them. Many thanks again, my friend, for this insightful, touching blog.  

 

Laurion June 18, 2018 - 1:45pm

You've got it, Barb, on two levels.

Kismet. Fate. Destiny. Whatever we want to call it, this story is a wonderful example of the power of "putting it out there" it terms of declaring what we're looking for. Whether "it" refers to what we want in terms of happiness, relationships, career, family, travel, contribution, or something less important like these chairs.  When we put "it" out there, energies align. Miracles happen. People find each other. While it doesn't mean we can click our heels together and have what we want fall from the sky, it does mean that when we declare something to be significant we have a greater chance of noticing it when it shows up.

The second point you highlighted is the power of story. Things are just things, and if a force of nature blew through town and took all the things (and left the people) in my world,  I'd be just fine. But as long as the things are still here, I get so much more joy from the ones that have a back story I feel connected to. You've highlighted the importance of taking the time to think about those stories - we've all got them, but maybe we haven't thought about them in a while, if at all. Here's to a life that's chock-a-block full of rich and meaningful stories we feel connected to during our time here on earth!

Vinnie Oakeson July 4, 2018 - 3:13pm

That's a great shot, Lauri. But the combination of the photo and the written words . . . well that gave the whole thing a kind of beauty that neither the image, nor the words could have done or their own. That's what this blog is all about!

Liz Allenon July 10, 2018 - 7:16am

Just started reading your blog.  This story brought tears to my eyes.  Truly beautiful.

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