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What would I do if I won the lottery tomorrow?

It was a question I was asked several weeks ago by my spiritual director.  I had been talking about feeling stuck.  Maybe I was whining, because God knows, I have been struggling a little of late.  All the activities that once brought me great joy no longer do.  Whether its writing, spiritual direction training, even gardening – all has lost its luster.

That question has proved life-giving.  So maybe it’s not so bad to be stalled, since I’ve taken the last two weeks to take stock of where I am and where I want to be, five years down the road.  I’ve asked myself questions like, would I travel around the world?  Would my husband and I retire to some little lake house a little further south?  Would I continue to garden and to write?  Can I see myself sitting as spiritual director for fellow seekers?  Oddly enough, I can respond ‘yes’ to all of these questions.

But strangely, the thing I would most like to do in the world, if money were no object, is to buy old unloved houses and restore them.  And would you believe I said this to Curt, with no thought whatsoever, on the very night he first posed his ‘litmus’ test question.  And the answer is really no different now, after two weeks of pondering.

So imagine my surprise, when a week ago, my sister told me that she wanted to try to keep rather than sell my parent’s former home.  The house that my father Jack built twenty-five years ago is going to get rebuilt from top to bottom; my sister plans to  replace the roof, windows, kitchen appliances and redecorate surfaces, like walls, flooring, ceilings.

This property that my sister inherited has been in my mother’s family since the late forties — my sister and I ran across the warranty deed when we were clearing out the house last week.  I believe my grandparents bought the house from one of my great uncles — though, originally, I understand the house belonged to the parents of two great-aunts.

The original home purchased by my grandparents was demolished over ten years ago, though the front porch of that original home still stands.  My mother began a garden around that old porch and a new grape arbor I had built nearby.  And my sister, being the gardener that she is, will likely refurbish and add to the small garden our mother left behind.

My sister will be a wonderful caretaker of the property.  Christi knows exactly what color she wants to paint the exterior — and she has so many ideas for the inside.  And yesterday, while Christi and I were painting the front sitting room a lovely shade that can only be described as the color of homemade vanilla ice cream, Christi asked me to help her.

All I can say it that even though the house is my sister’s and not mine, I feel as if I’ve just won the lottery.