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Where Shoulders Rest

As I prayed in the new year, there was a word that resonated well within my soul; wholeness. It echoed from my ears to my toes and I knew that this was the word I would cling to for 2023. Wholeness by definition means forming a complete harmonious whole unit. It is the state of being unbroken or undamaged, like a well-preserved building.

More often than not, I feel like I have failed in most aspects of my life. The reality is, that I have allowed myself to be pulled in many different directions, often answering yes when it should have been a no, and likewise no, when it should have been yes. This looks different in various aspects of life, but generally I think it is easy to feel like a failure in comparison to what appears to be a perfect life on social media…. Which inevitably fails to grasp the full scope of reality for most of us.

Day one of the new year and I ask myself, “what would my life look like if I made choices with wholeness in mind for myself and my family?”. Now this doesn’t come from a place of perfection, but rather a place of grace. Letting some things go because I can’t do it wholeheartedly. Perhaps persevering harder with the committed decision, because I made the choice to do it completely. Maybe even wholeness looks a little bit like rest. The only way to walk in wholeness is with grace.

We recently opened the barn up for our first ever Flea Market. It was really fun seeing so many familiar faces. With the markets at rest until early Spring, we all forgot how special it is to partake in this community we have built. It was a nice reminder of things to come and how truly needed this place has been for so many.

Our Christmas party was nothing short of a hallmark experience. The rain held off and we enjoyed the company of strangers under twinkle lights and around fire-pits. We savored the artfully curated seven-foot table filled with charcuterie, live festive folksy music by candle light, and so many other wonderful moments from those few short hours.

I wish I could fully encompass and share this past year as a whole and what we have experienced at the heritage barn each new season. What started as a place of inspiration and gathering has developed into a safe haven, a restful space away from the busyness of life. How many times did we encounter those carrying heavy burdens on shoulders, finding ease in entering through the barn doors.

Here, we can be perfectly imperfect. Like a handmade vessel. We don’t have to keep up with the race or the façade. The authenticity and rawness we have experienced in shared stories, conversation, a willingness to be present with people of all walks of life, has been an unexpected blessing.

After years of feeling separated and displaced, we get to be connected in some way. I don’t know what the future looks like for The Maple House Collective, who does? All I know, is that I want to carry this experience with me wherever we go. I am learning so much.

These cold winter months make for the perfect season of rest, reflection, and rebuilding. While I am still in the midst of this pause, I wanted to catch up for a moment and express how thankful I am for this local community. When you choose to be a part of this place, and with courage, authentically share in that with us, it means a lot. I want people to know that their life is valuable. Their face, recognizable. And their presence, meaningful. We get to express hope and carry the light for each other, even while we do so quite imperfectly.

It is good to rest. Good things to come.

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