A Cottage Prayer

This being Remembrance Day here in Canada, and Veterans Day in the United States, and Sunday, I thought it might be a fitting day to talk about prayer, and specifically a prayer that is useful to cottage owners. Yup..there is one…and no, I didn’t write it….

As a cottage owner I know you know the feeling of looking around your cottage or camp and seeing things that need to be done, or things you want to do, either to make the cottage better, or because they have to be done. I’m thinking about things like, build a bigger deck, which might be a “nice to have done”, as opposed to replace those rotten boards on the existing deck, which is a “needs to be done” before someone falls through and gets hurt.

There are all kinds of things around a cottage to do, in fact, one of the things I always say when a visitor goes on about ‘how they would love to have a place like this’ is to remind them of the work that goes into having a ‘place like this’

Cottages are in my mind, 75% work, and 25% pleasure, at times…and don’t get me wrong, most of the work is pleasurable, or leads to pleasure. Things like building a new wharf, or painting a boat are mostly pleasure, and will provide pleasure. Things like crawling underneath the camp to hook up the water in the spring are pleasure, because you know how nice it is to have water come from the tap, or a toilet that flushes. On the other hand, when you crawl under the camp and discover pipes leaking, (and someday you will, trust me) well, that becomes work…..

Of course as cottage owners look around their cottages and see work that needs to be done all over the place, they are also forced to consider things like, do I have the money for that? do I have the ability to do that myself? does it need to be done this summer? would it be nice to have a roof over the deck? Does the boat need to be painted? How long is that roof going to last with all that moss on it? Those sills are getting rotten, someday soon I am going to have to jack the place up and replace them….and so on it goes….one thing after another unless you live in blind oblivion to the needs of the property and either plan to sell it soon, or have tons of money and resources to have it fixed by someone else.

All of these things can weigh heavily on the mind of some people. Some cottagers are just plain bothered by work that needs doing. These are Type 1 Cottagers. They can’t stand to put stuff off, or to ignore the rotten boards on the deck, or the peeling paint on the back of the camp, even though no one typically can see the camp from that side unless they are in the woods.

On the flip side of the coin are the folks who know how to live, what I call a Type 2 cottager, they are the ones who nail a couple of new boards over top of the rotten boards and go for a boat ride, or go fishing. They aren’t bothered by the peeling paint, or the wharf that has taken a dangerous tilt toward the water, instead they are at the cottage for fun and relaxation, and as far as repairs and improvements are concerned, well…they will get to them someday….I envy those folks at times….

Yes, I am one of the former, a Type 1 cottager, a cottager who is bothered by peeling paint and rotting boards, and who can’t stand to leave the grass uncut one more day, despite the fact that it would be a great day fishing. It’s a problem, oddly enough, as my wife is fond of pointing out, one I don’t seem to share around home….

But back to the post, I mentioned earlier that this column of The Cottage Chronicles was about prayer, and it is….I am not a particularly religious person, so forgive me for my ignorance, nor am I an alcoholic, or member of Alcoholic Anonymouse where this prayer is commonly heard. Nor do I know who wrote it, but I think the person may have been a cottager, particularly a Type 2 Cottager. It goes like this:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Sounds pretty useful doesn’t it?

This post of The Cottage Chronicles brought to you in part by Windmill Tilting

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