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One Final Trip Home

July 20, 2010

My Dad built the house I grew up in.  He didn’t build it with the intention of raising a family.  He was a young, hard working bachelor who found thirty acres of land for sale (that people thought he was crazy for buying) and bought it with plans of creating a home of his own.  He designed it and did the bulk of the work – pretty impressive since he’d dropped out  of school after completing the eighth grade.  It took him about 3 1/2 years to complete the home he made for himself and now, many, many years later, I’m getting ready to go home one last time.

Eventually, my Dad met my Ma and three daughters later, the house he’d built was bustling with activity.  Fast forward again to him getting ill and losing a battle with cancer and somehow, his dreams of each of us girls taking a lot and building our own house in the field behind the house he’d built seemed to quickly fade.  My Ma remarried and I lived there through my high school years.

In December of 1996, I moved out.  Granted, I’d return for summers during college and frequent visits but my last time living there full time was in December of 1996.  Since then, I’ve lived in five different states and traveled to a whole lot more.  I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to make my home in a number of fun places and yet the home I grew up in has always remained the place I went home to.

As years have passed and I now have kids of my own, I’ve wrestled with where home really is for me.  Of course it’s with my husband and kids but a part of me still feels a pull to that house that my Dad built.  And although we’ve had the opportunity to purchase the house a couple of times, it has been painfully clear that it’s just not where God wants us right now.

The walls of my Dads house have seen some rough times these past couple of years and now, after a long struggle, my sweet Ma is finally ready to sell the house and the land that surrounds it.  This is the first time the house my Dad built is on the market and although it feels a little (or a lot) odd, it seems to be where God is leading my Ma right now and who can argue with that.

Tomorrow, my kids and I will pack up and go back home, one last time, to help her clean out the remainder of over forty years of stuff from my Ma, Dad, Step-dad (who passed away a couple of years ago), sisters and I.  Most of the rooms have been cleared out but the attic and my Dad’s workshop are still full as is my old bedroom. My heart is heavy as I get ready to go yet at the same time, it is hopeful for the new beginning that selling the house affords my much deserving mother.

And as that new beginning awaits her, I am also met with the revelation that returning to that city will never again carry the weight of “home” for me.  My home will truly and completely be wherever the Lord currently has me and there is something freeing in that.  To have my heart attached to more than one place, although I love it dearly, isn’t really fair to the current home I’m in.  My home, for years now, has been wherever my family and friends (who are family too) are.  It is not just where I lay my head but where I share my heart.  So, these next few weeks, as hard as they may be at times, will signal the end of a wonderful era of life in the house I grew up in which only means that it’s time to start something new right?

And who doesn’t love a new and complete beginning?



18 Comments leave one →
  1. July 20, 2010 2:37 pm

    That’s so hard! There is definitely grief in that loss for you. I’m so glad you get a chance to go and bring it to a physical close. I’m so glad for your kids to be there as well.

    • July 20, 2010 4:30 pm

      Yep, my kids will be a wonderful joy buffer for me!! And I am so thankful for the chance to go back one more time. I didn’t think it’d be a big deal until I saw the pics of it on the listing and then I suddenly knew that I had to go back. I’m thankful I didn’t try to rub that off but that I’m instead, going to walk through it.

  2. Joyce Heidecke permalink
    July 20, 2010 2:39 pm

    What beautiful writing! I “felt” what you said, even though my experience is entirely different.

  3. Brett permalink
    July 20, 2010 2:54 pm

    Beautiful stuff. What an awesome image of your old and new homes, and loving and cherishing the old and all the stuff it represents but fully embracing the new one.

    I live so close to the house I grew up in, the house my parents still call home. In most ways it’s wonderful that they’ll probably never leave that house until they’re gone and that we live so close, but in other ways, it can be a struggle to pull fully out of the past and dive deep into our new home. Heck, my wife’s parents live in our neighborhood!

    We sometimes mull over the idea of moving at least a few hours away. I think it comes from this place of wanting to feel like we have really left and cleft (leave and cleave–the past tense of those). But it’s really this: home is where God has put us. Right now, it’s in the middle of where we grew up. Maybe there’s something in that that God has for us.

    • July 20, 2010 4:34 pm

      I don’t know why that desire to have left and cleft (love it!) is such a strong one at times but especially when I first had left town and desired to find my way on my own it was ever present. Oddly, the farther I get from there, the less it feels like me wanting to prove something and the more it feels like me wanting to just be at complete peace where I’m at. Not sure if that makes sense but if anyone will get it, I’m thinking you will.
      I love that y’all get to be right in the middle of where you grew up – no doubt He has the perfect reason for that!!! Enjoy it while you’re there 🙂

      • Brett permalink
        July 22, 2010 2:32 pm

        A) Yes, understand the receding of the desire to prove vs. the learning to be complete peace wherever I’m at. There were a few posts at this blog about contentment. Great posts on contentment vs. complacence. or whatever. By the way–thanks for the comment on my little attempt at a blog. And I love yours and Joel’s. Nice design too. I might drop y’all anote at some point to pick your brains on the whole WP thing.

        • July 22, 2010 9:26 pm

          Anytime! And thanks for that other blog reference too! Will definitely check it out. Blessing to you!

  4. July 20, 2010 8:31 pm

    what a beautiful legacy and heritage in those walls. i know this trip home will hold so much emotion, so much bittersweet beauty.

    i can’t help but also be struck by how much loss your mom has endured (losing both her husbands). she sounds like an amazingly strong woman.

    thinking of you as you head home this weekend, friend.

    • July 22, 2010 6:51 am

      Thanks, friend. She is a pretty amazing woman indeed! I can’t even comprehend the loss she has felt and then the risk it takes to get into another relationship. I love her!

  5. Gary permalink
    July 21, 2010 7:37 am

    As you shared pictures of the house your earthly father built with Cathie and I we listened intently as to how the walls, the rock fireplace, all the structure pieces came together to make the house. As you shared how this came together the description was the same as you now describe. Precisely the same. How a house with hand built walls turned into a home. Big difference between house and home, at least in my heart. This house became your first home because it marked the beginning of God’s journey for you. It is part of your story. The memories from your childhood you shared there with family and friends are part of your story. We all have a story. We all have a journey. The house is a physical reminder of your first home life that will forever be embedded in your heart. The house can be sold, the home will not be. As with my parents house, which hold great memories (Christmas’s, weddings, birthdays, meals together and on and on) I cling to the structure because I think it is a physical reminder of all the great pieces of my journey, my story. If the house were to be blown away, the home would not be. The home is in my heart, the home is in your heart. The house is somewhere else.
    I pray you and the rug rats have a great trip and that as you go about the task of cleaning up the final pieces with Hols the memories of home will be ones of joy and not sadness. Pack up some extra pieces of home to carry with you to your new homes with your great family so that you may always share memories of the house your dad built and the first of many homes that God has granted you with Joel, Owen, Ella and a multitude of friends.

    • July 22, 2010 6:53 am

      Thanks Gar – I love you guys and I’d write more but you made my eyes leak. Just what I needed to hear

  6. July 26, 2010 9:58 am

    My gosh what a bittersweet experience… All the memories that will come flooding back. That will be discovered in shoe-boxes and under beds and in the back of drawers. Pictures. Receipts. Stories.

    What a rich and hard time…. I hope you find blessing in the stories – memories – moments.


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