Carthage, Texas

Focusing on what matters most

At a glance, it’s a beautiful and serene setting. But when I face the opposite direction, I experience a flood of emotions. In 2006, when my husband was transferred to East Texas, we lived temporarily in our travel trailer at a lake campground. The oil and gas activity in East Texas occupied every available rental, leaving us no choice. We confidently told ourselves it was temporary. “Only until the house sells in North Texas. A few months, tops.” But that year marked the beginning of a major downturn in the real estate market, and I’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. Living in the travel trailer was my bright idea, but with each chemo treatment and with each month that passed without a contract on our house came worry and despair.

Had I turned around and taken another photograph, it would reveal travel trailers and pine trees lined up on a dirt road. This was our home for ten long months. In hindsight, we’re grateful for the valuable experience. We made great friends and learned that matters of the heart are more important than material possessions. After ten months, we finally transferred to Georgetown and eventually sold our home.

Recently, we revisited the lake. I stood on the dock and pointed my camera toward the clear blue water, conscious of the difficult memories behind me. It took going back to this place for me to notice the beautiful, peaceful view. I’d been focused on the wrong thing all along.

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