Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Unofficial Dawsonwood Cottage Debut

Down on the dock, peace and quiet on the slow branch of the Muskoka River. Posted by Picasa

They say good things happen when you least expect them. There have been moments during the past eight months when I thought Dawsonwood Cottage would never really open. I haven't kept to my schedule. The cost of even minor renovations has seemed insuperable. The emotional trial of purging has been at times overwhelming. Occasionally the thought of hosting even one guest has sickened me. In this steamy, smoggy summer, in the midst of illness and drama, home renovations and a multiplicity of change, while my back was turned and I was busy doing other things, Dawsonwood Cottage opened itself.

In the last two weeks we have hosted long term guests (family), unexpected guests (friends), planned guests (pastoral support), invited guests from overseas no less, indirect guests (via telephone, email and blogging). The place has been a hive of activity. I am getting about five hours sleep a night. Can't remember when I had my afternoon nap.

Dawsonwood Cottage has not been at its best. Grandchildren's fingerprints dancing across windows and doors. Carpet soil hiding under footstools. Corn cobs lingering on the kitchen table. The family room groaning under loads of wash, all clean, some folded, some not. When I was younger I could never have entertained the thought of fifteen people seeing my home in this state.

Guess what? Everyone has had a good time. What has really needed to be done has been done. God has shown up, as they say. Dawsonwood inaugurated itself.

I have dished up meals in record time. Catered for the reno crew at 80 Woodward. Unfolded davenports and cots. Folded them up again. Made beds. Stripped beds. Made them up again. Nursed my grandson. Played with my granddaughter. Shared these two important people with my other guests.

It has been remarkably good, in retrospect. A time of high energy, sometimes mistaken for tension.

Those who have shared the Dawsonwood vision from the beginning have always felt that this is a healing place...this small town, small home on the south branch of the Muskoka River. A friend who plans a visit this fall has written that this is a safe place. In this past two weeks it has begun to fulfill its promise as a healing place.

I am being healed. A blog in and of itself. And Baby Robbie's asthma has stabilized here. He is visibly growing and becoming stronger every day. He has cut his first tooth, and is making attempts at creeping as he rolls and even back flips himself around the living room floor in a pool of constant sunshine.

Today our visitors were a family of four. Mom and Dad in ministry with children 6 and 4 years old. The younger child has a form of unspecified autism. Here at Dawsonwood he did several things his parents had never seen him do before. He even experimented with food he had never eaten before...quite an accomplishment for any child. He met new people and communicated with them. He was expanding his skills while we sat and talked. Babe, our aging Sheltie was his constant if somewhat reluctant companion. She was reborn as the therapy dog of her youth, finding perhaps vestigial memories of the children she played with when I worked in community mental health. Neat.

So the door opened itself, I thought, as I rocked Robbie to sleep on the balcony in the cool of the evening. I let myself down into the moment, the rest of holding a sleeping child, the movement of the swing. Surrendering to what God has given, to what is and to the best which is yet to come.

The door to Dawsonwood Cottage. Posted by Picasa


annie said...

I am so glad to read your report! I have been thinking about you and wondering how things have been going, and look what God has done!

Love the peaceful pictures.

Lisa said...

Wow, wow, wow! I remember you talking about this in November. How very, very cool. Blessings to each of you and on the space.

steph said...

Oh Connie, your dream is happening! Your calling is actively expanding. And you speak of Dawsonwood not at it's best, but I beg to differ. It IS at it's best because it is alive with hope, sanctuary, with Ruach flowing through, in and beside this glorious structure that you are caretaking, and giving to the Kingdom.
I love to see a dream come into being!

Anonymous said...

Connie - "Dawsonwood" - what a wonderful project that will benefit so many people through the years. You are so gifted! No need for jealousy (as written about earlier) God has blessed and gifted you .... and you are sharing those blessings and gifts. Thanks ... Auntie Jean

bobbie said...


i am so proud of you woman! and so thrilled to be one who will be nurtured in the arms of your dreams.

it is beautiful and i am so looking forward to seeing it - and even more YOU!

anj said...

Wow - as Lisa said. I hear the healing in the tone of this post, and the heart gladness of a hope fulfilled. Good on Them for opening Way at this time in your life.

Deb said...

WOW Connie!! How very exciting. I hope to visit you and Dawsonwood sometime in the future. Blessings!

wcs53 said...

Hi Connie,

I, being the dad mentioned in your post, say many thanks. You and Rob certainly made our day. To see our son interacting as he did was just great for us. We have enjoyed many changes in his life over the past year. Each milestone, some of which seem insignificant to others, warms our heart.

We will definitely be back sometime in the future and would also love to be able to return the compliment by having you come to our place in EL. Blessings to you both.

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