Letting Go


May 31, 2013 by Will Ray

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”  ~  Dr. Seuss 


The lake house, which has been in Nancy’s family for 18 years, is being sold today.  It’s my favorite place in the world.  You can see why:


Nancy’s mom has faithfully kept and maintained the lake house through many years of repairs and maintenance, keeping it as a place the family could enjoy on many holidays and throughout the year.  We’re so grateful for that.  But it’s time for it to go.

The cost of upkeep – in time and money – is exorbitant, and Nancy’s mom recently moved to Nashville.  The family – immediate and extended – is all grown up now, and it’s hard to get everyone together.  There’s simply too much upkeep to make it worth it anymore.

Ironically, the house was “named” Simple Pleasures – and if anyone knows about keeping up a lake home, you know it’s anything but simple.  That doesn’t necessarily make goodbye any easier, though.


Saying goodbye has been an ongoing process since last spring.  Nancy and I had the chance to say goodbye to it for the last time on Monday.  Despite the quote above, many, many tears were shed as we recounted memories and talked about what we love about the place.

Some people might think it silly to mourn the loss of a place because “it’s not places or things that matter – people do.”  And that’s very true.

But it’s not just a house.  It represents so many things – memories (so many memories), family, love, laughter, fun times, hopes for the future, freedom, relaxation, peace, a refuge.


Nancy and I shared our 2nd kiss there while celebrating our first dating anniversary.
We had a huge engagement party there.
Our love really grew there.
I became “part of the family” there.
Nancy and I both learned to ski and boat there.
Nancy ran her first half marathon there.
I learned to grill there.
My brother was married there.

Nancy and I planned to take our kids there.  We dictated in our wills that we wanted to be cremated and spread on the lake.  We planned to own it ourselves one day.


So it’s not simply a place or “thing” that we’re mourning.  It’s everything else.

This has been a good lesson for us in letting go, and to hold everything we have with an open hand.  None of it is really ours anyway.  It’s all the Lord’s.  Everything we have is from his hand, and we only have it tomorrow because he allows us to keep it.  We are stewards of everything given to us – not owners.

So thank the Lord for the blessings you have today, and hold them with an open hand.

Here’s to the lake house: 1995-2013


(All pictures courtesy of Nancy Ray)

6 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. Em says:

    Looks like an amazing place, and I know really well the kind of memories that can be made at a place like that. You’re right, it’s saying goodbye to far more than just a house… but happily, memories and relationships can never be sold. Thinking of you guys today!

  2. […] walked through that hard day with me. (Read his amazing thoughts on letting go of this sweet home here. He summarized it beautifully.) And, I had no idea I would be saying goodbye to the Lake House […]

  3. […] school seniors Completed our Wills! (more on that later this month) Went to the beach with family Said goodbye to the Lake House Started working out some more Shot three amazing weddings Completed registrations for […]

  4. I felt the same feeling of “loss of place” when my grandparents sold their mountain house several years back. They were getting older and just couldn’t make the drive and deal with the upkeep anymore. So many memories of roasting marshmallows, pillow fights with my cousins, sitting on the roof to watch the stars, and hikes down to the creek for picnics and swimming. The cabin may be gone, but my memories are still as vivid as ever. Isn’t it a beautiful thing though? That since you and Nancy have committed to a life of being debt free, the dream of someday owning your own lake house to make memories in is absolutely attainable?

    • Will Ray says:

      Katie, you’re right – we still do have a dream to maybe own a house there one day! And choosing to live a certain way makes those dreams possible!

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About me…

Youth minister, financial coach and part-time wedding photographer, based in Raleigh, NC

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