Did you ever wonder what it might be like to run a B & B?
It seems that there’s a breed of us, who harbor the soft little fantasy that some day, god willing, we’ll do just that. We’ll make that dream come true. We’ll create a special place, and we’ll bring people to it, somehow, and they will experience our fantasy with us.
We’ll make sure that they have a wonderful time, and that they’ll remember this time in their lives, and that, if we’re really lucky, they’ll return. Well, that’s how the fantasy goes in my head, anyway. I can’t speak for others, but I’m sure it isn’t always the same.
What’s really behind that? It can be many things.
Perhaps it really is the altruistic wish to provide people with a break from their regular lives, and maybe leave them with a little more hope, just to carry on with some burden they’re carrying. Maybe it’s the desire to share some beautiful place you either live in, or have created. Surround people with that. Or maybe, it’s just the mundane desire to make some money; after all, we all have bills to pay.
The truth is that, for us, it’s been all of those things. But there’s one more, as well.
I’ve always believed that we attract into our lives the things and the people we need. So for me, it’s been quite a fascinating process watching the stream of people who’ve found themselves marching through our doors. (And just so you know, there’s always just a little bit of trepidation before you meet your next guests.
- What will they be like?
- Will they be friendly?
- Will they want to chat?
- To talk, even?
- Will they like the place, and appreciate the extra lengths to which we’ve been willing to go?)
Guests, of course, come in all shapes and sizes. They’re there for a variety of reasons. And the truth is that, despite your best efforts, you cannot please everyone. Off season guests may be carrying burdens you know nothing about. Sometimes, you’ve just got to give them space. Summer guests tend to be a happy lot. They’re on vacation, and looking for adventure. They tend to be quite delighted with the service you provide them, and leave happy. If you’re lucky, they write all about it on Trip Advisor!
But every once in awhile, a special guest will arrive at your door.
We knew that Pauline would be special long before we met her in person. We spoke on the phone a month ahead of time, and I got off saying, ‘I can’t wait til she gets here; I really feel like one of my old best friends is coming for a visit!’ She would be spending nearly a week with us.
James was home to greet Pauline when she arrived, and he asked me afterwards:
‘Have you met her yet? She’s really something, this one! We’re in for a good time!’
But it was more than just a good time with Pauline. For here was someone who not only was willing to talk enthusiastically; she was an avid listener. And though she had planned her holiday brilliantly, so that she would share just the right balance of time with her local friends, she knew enough to have her boundaries clearly drawn. Pauline could never be a burden to anyone. Far from it; the fact is, she left you wanting more of her company! And we felt very privileged that, within the balance she had created, she made a good amount of time to visit with her new friends. And that was us.
Life is a funny thing. So often, it brings you what you need, more than what you want. And like old friends, we soon realized that the ups and downs of our lives had some overlaps and parallels. But we shared from a place of joy. And gratitude. We’re old and wise now, we said! We’ve survived all that, and still, we’re happy! And life is an adventure, every day!
But then, Pauline brought something to my attention.
‘You’ve been doing this for more than a year,’ she said, ‘but there is no journal or guest book in my room. Why not? I want to leave my words behind.
How stunningly obvious. How had we missed that?
So today, we are heading into the village. Our favorite little gallery did a post just last evening. New journals, it said. Perfect for you.
Pauline did leave her words behind, just for us, and we will cherish them, sure that our paths will cross again. She said, ‘People come into our lives at different times, and we keep them in our hearts forever.’
We thank her for that gift, and for reminding us that, when you want to, it’s always good to leave your words behind.