Why I Cry A Little Today

April 23, 2010 | 20 comments

They started in the guest room, crashing through shingles and trusses and two-by-fours as if this old cabin were made of Lincoln Logs or Legos. They tore it wide open, leaving pink insulation dangling like ripped flesh.

And I think my heart tore a little, too.

We could save only a few things before the demolition crew arrived, for mold had destroyed almost everything in our little lakeside retreat. And yes, I know it’s just stuff, and I really do remember Lydia’s wise words: “It’s OK, Mom. People are more important than things.”

But goodbyes are rarely easy.

On a warm spring day in April, we tore down our little family cabin. And we bid farewell to that old Iowa State University jacket I always wore by the campfire,
and the first couch we ever bought,
and that ugly pink bathtub,
and Anna’s dolls,
and Scott’s crazy Hawaiian shirt still hanging in the closet,
and the first life-vest she ever wore,
and that nine-pound taxidermied walleye I caught,
and that kitchen table where our little birthday girl sat every June.

And, when I think about the sounds and the singing, I remember now that the Jimmy Buffet disc must have still been in the CD player when the trucks hauled it all away to the landfill.

The excavator lumbered forward, and by scoopfuls, left gaping holes in a place that knew only our joy. We know this is just stuff, but it’s the stuff from which memories were born.

And I think, right now — as I write and reflect — that it’s okay to cry a little.

We’ll miss you, Bela Vista.

Photo: Before the mold … back in summer 2008. Almost everything in this photo is now in the landfill, except for a few photographs and mementos.

Photo: Anna, Lydia and cousin Rachel. We treasure these memories.

Photo: Lydia’s catch of the day.


Friends, may your weekend be filled with sweet remembrances. And may you and I keep our eyes fixed on things of eternal significance. Yes, wise Lydia, people really are more important than things. We know that the things of this world will fade and falter and fail — even these very bodies we’ve been given.

“Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”
— 2 Corinthians 5:1

RELATED POST: The story of the mold that destroyed our cabin.

by | April 23, 2010 | 20 comments


  1. Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife

    That just stinks. I'm so sorry and so sad for you.

    I wish things could be different, but I know that God is going to not waste this. I know this, because Iknow my God.

    I have confidence that you will find the "Y" in it, my friend!

  2. Missie

    I can't imagine, but hopefully you will be able to find a new place and start some new adventures, but never forget the old!

  3. jasonS

    That is so sad. You're right though- it's the memories that make it so hard. It's definitely all right to grieve. 🙂

  4. Nancy

    No one can take the memories…. hang on to those, that's all we have when the things or people we love are gone. Grieving IS a part of growing.

  5. Solveig

    Yes, it's okay to cry. Bless you.

  6. Beth E.

    I'm sorry your cabin had to be destroyed, Jennifer! Of course you wanted to cry. Bela Vista held beautiful memories.

    In the midst of your tears, though, you still have joy in your heart. I really admire that. It reminds me of a line in a song…"Life is hard…but God is good."

    Big hugs,

  7. Andrea

    Jennifer, I am so sorry for your loss. Saying, "Goodbye," is the worst kind of pain.

    Things themselves, their compositions, mean so little, but the life and memories attached to them mean so much. Parts of our lives are entwined into sofas, and pictures, and tables and houses.

    But thank God for His grace that pours through our pain. I know He is giving you that grace even now. Your memories will be lasting ones and blessed ones.

    Much love,


  8. Kristine

    Oh I know how you feel. My first apartment in college was the top half of a house on campus. My husband proposed to me there. When I went back and saw it had been torn down my heart broke. I'm sorry you had to tear down a place with such beautiful memories but I'm sure you'll be able to make new ones.

  9. lynnmosher

    Jennifer, My heart aches for you. It's never about the things but the emotions held within those things. Maybe Bela Vista's sister will rise to be filled with future memories. Praying for your hurting heart.

  10. A Simple Country Girl

    Ah friend, it is okay to cry. But look there, those smiles upon faces dug paths so deep into hearts that no excavator can tear them apart. And the lake, still shimmers in the sun and sparkles with delight. Just like you do, with God!


  11. Monica Sharman

    Do you have a picture of that mounted walleye? 🙂
    I smile and cry with you, you dear one who surrenders, farmer-style.

  12. Kay @ Off the Beaten Path

    Definitely worthy of a few tears…

  13. Stephani

    So sorry! Tears are more than OK! I'm anxious to read about all the new wonderful memories that God is going to bring into the life of your family in the days to come! Blessings!

  14. L.L. Barkat

    Oh, you are breaking my heart. Such losses are very real.

  15. Janis@Open My Ears Lord

    Oh! It's so true that the memories behind the things are what we cling to. And those memories will always be there, carefully stored away where nothing can tear them apart. You do have those beautiful photos, too.
    Understanding why you are sad.

  16. Laura

    Oh, Jennifer. Bless you, friend. My heart hurts and my breath catches just looking at these pictures. Oh, friend. I'm thinking of you. Praying.

  17. lori

    Wow…thank God we have memories…
    What a wise little girl you have there…"and things of earthwoll grow strangely dim by the light of His glory and grace…
    May those memories live long within your souls..

  18. Lyla Lindquist


  19. Jennifer

    I haven't found an easy goodbye yet. Sometimes, I think it's a blessing that we can cry and grieve over losses–it means our heart is tender.

  20. Carey

    No words, sweet friend. It's only stuff, but still so hard. Thank you for the times you let me enjoy there as well. I will cherish them.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest