Welcome to my Advent series! I’m using the Sims to do the Advent Writing Plan, from Bryony Wells. I found her and the plan on Instagram, and decided to follow the plan. Each day has some verses, to do with Advent. I copy them out in a notebook, like the plan was. I also use the verses as a base for this serial story set in Sims 3. Each day it will be a new Advent season in my Sims’ life, apart from day 1, which is near the end of the winter when she moves into her cabin.
I will tell you the verses each day, and hopefully you can see them playing out in my sims’ life. Today it’s Psalm 40:1-3: I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. 3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
There it was, on paper, declaring me, Mariella Elkins, to be the proud owner of a studio cabin with fishing grounds. As I looked out of the French doors, I renamed it Mud View Cottage in my head, then felt ashamed. “You will be very comfortable, Miss Elkins,” the estate agent had assured me, “especially if you’re fishing for a living. You won’t even need to leave your grounds to earn a living. The cabin is comfortable and doesn’t normally get flooded.” That was true so far. He didn’t tell me that depended on my keeping all doors closed when high tide crept across the swamps outside my cabin. The water nearly reached the top of my old washing machine, but the agent assured me it was normal. “The cabins around this water-rich area all have these special washing machines, you’ll find the water won’t be a problem, only a benefit.
I did realise, as soon as I went out after my first breakfast as a proud homeowner, that the water had receded, but the smell hadn’t. I was glad to get away to the larger swamp area where the smell didn’t seem as strong and do some fishing. “Mariella,” I said to myself, “You will get used to it. You have a house, all to yourself, and you need to be grateful.” I often talk to myself, as there aren’t many people around where I am. Having just moved into Twinbrook, and into a quiet corner at that, I haven’t met anyone so far, apart from the estate agent. Having to make a living out of fishing, there aren’t many opportunities to meet people and make friends. Smelling of fish and swamp doesn’t particularly help either.
So I talk to myself, but it doesn’t keep the loneliness away. Sitting in my comfy chair, eating pasta, I sighed, my eyes stinging. I didn’t want to be ungrateful. I had come from a hard patch, living in a large city, struggling to get away from trouble. The social worker visit had been swift and unexpected, to me anyway. I knew life was tough for our family, but I was about to turn into a teenager. I would have been able to stay with my parents. Instead, we were whisked away and I never managed to see my parents again.
Now, as a young adult, I had been given the usual Leaving Fund and decided to buy a cabin. A house wasn’t an option, but there were a few cabins on the outskirts of Twinbrook. I had visions of rural living, the views and peace all around me. This wasn’t quite how I had imagined my future. When I saw the estate agent and he showed me around, I felt so thrilled and blessed. A whole cabin, all to myself. Fishing stream going through my garden. A garden that was mine too. No noisy neighbours, no high-rise buildings, no cars. My hands shook as I signed the papers. I felt so lifted up, and I sang to myself as I sorted my few personal belongings, wondering what I would cook for myself for dinner. Such freedom, I sighed as I sang, “…out of the miry clay…You put my feet on a rock…You are my rock, my high tower, my hiding place.”
I still hummed it as I was eating my freshly cooked pasta, snuggled into a large chair. The cabin was cosy, although simple and others might call it old-fashioned. It was such a comforting place and I thanked God for bringing me here. When I looked out in the morning, after the tide had gone back to the swamp, I realised that being lifted out of the miry clay was literally true. The problem was, the same mire would return twice a day. “You know it’s not the same kind of mire we’re talking about,” I hissed out loud to myself. Maybe living all by myself was a bad idea. I needed someone to constantly remind me where I had come from, and how sunk I had been before getting to this place. My hiding place, my high tower.
That winter was so mild, even though I got the cabin near the end of the winter. Fishing was good, not particularly lucrative, but I managed to pay the bills most weeks. Once I lost a few things because I had been too late. I realised that being blessed and saved from hard circumstances doesn’t make for a smooth ride all the time. There will be other troubles. Different ones and I never sank as deeply again, but getting the taxi to the supermarket to sell my fish, it was hard not to whisper, “Couldn’t You have set me on a higher rock? Couldn’t You have lifted me out of the miry clay a little higher, and placed me in one of those cute solid brick houses? Nobody can see me where I am, so wouldn’t it have been better if my life was more visible? Wouldn’t I bring more honour to You, if people saw how far I’d come?” Thinking about my damp cabin, I wasn’t so sure people would be as thrilled as I was. I was thrilled, wasn’t I? I had an income, my safe space, and peace and surely I was feeling joy? The cabin was so quiet though…Had I really been lifted up, ready to praise God for all His benefits?
I sang through my tears that night when I heard the water lapping against the cabin wall. “…You are my hiding place…I will praise you in the night…”