Shimmering sun sprinkled gold glitter over the sea, piercing blue skies and white cotton candy clouds suspended to the east and west as our caravan of three cars crossed the Lazaretto bridge. We had no idea what was in store for us on this little clump of sand. Questions filled our our heads… Would we only live here for three months as our temporary winter rental suggested? Or would we find a new life here? Thirsty and hungry to fill a void that ached in both of us for a long time. Years of going through the motions and living out decisions that were based on the way we were “supposed” to live had piled on and eventually took its toll on us. Laughter filled dates nights had been replaced by mounting bills and debt and working 16 hour days to fulfill obligations that we weren’t sure why we were obligated to them.
Two months before, we had already sold everything we owned. The commitment of searching for a new life had already been made. Putting into action, the proverbial saying “Leap and the net will appear” …we had made the leap, we just didn’t know if and when the net would appear.
Within two weeks, it was quickly apparent that Tybee fit like a glove for the whole McNally clan. We soon began searching for long term housing on the island. Our winter rental contract would be up before we’d know it. In the last hour, we found a little apartment, thinking it would ‘make do’ for the first year, but it would at least keep us on Tybee. Convincing our children that we would live like we’re on vacation in the two bedroom, one bath tiny space, as it’s only a seashell’s throw from the ocean. Five years later, we still love our little space and the seascape view it provides. We continue to keep life simple. Owning only the items that we want to use and care for, and not accumulating stuff for storage and dust collecting. Choosing to do only what makes us happy, cutting away stress and anxiety in every area. “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5
This weekend is our five year Tybee-versary. We continue celebrate life every day with thankfulness, joy and gratitude that we followed that little voice that led us to this place, this quirky, peculiar little island of misfit toys. For the first time ever, we somehow fit amongst the misfits and have learned many lessons. First of all we have learned what community really is, and how to love each other through many differences, not hurling judgement on those that live or believe a differently from us. When one hurts, everyone hurts. When one is in need, everyone pulls together. Fund raising and benefits are weekly events on Tybee. Raising thousands of dollars to support neighbors and tybee family. “Love the Lord God with all your heart, and all your might and all your strength and love your neighbor as yourself…this is the greatest of commands.” Loving your neighbor is definitely one thing that Tybee gets right. Just last week, over $4,000 was raised in one night at The Sandbar, for our buddy Steve-O, who is recovering from a stroke. The same day another fundraiser was held to support life long tybee resident, Captain Royce whose shrimp boat had sunk during hurricane Matthew. Tybee people jump into action when the needs are plenty.
Last night we walked down Tybrisa (our main street on Tybee) for our annual Christmas tree lighting. Five years ago to the day, we attended the same event on our first night living here, we didn’t know one person. Now, I gaze through the crowd and can call out each one by name. I look in their eyes and know a part of their story. We have all been gathered on this island of love to celebrate each other cherishing these moments we call life. I feel as though our lives have been knitted together with these people into this creating a beautiful blanket of love that has filled the emptiness we ached from five years ago.