I write this post sitting inside my silent house…well, my house for a little while longer. I met the buyer yesterday, and (Good News) she is a lovely lady and a great fit for this home and for our neighborhood. She actually looks a little like me, with children of her own. She laughed, telling me that during the times she has visited this house, neighbors have called out greetings as they walk by, “Hi Mishael!”
But she is not me. She is herself with her own journey and this home will be hers and her family’s. Woven into their upcoming memories too.
I introduced her to some neighbors yesterday, and they enjoyed meeting one another. “It’s all falling together.” I thought. “This is right.” Afterward I left to run errands in the area. I felt satisfied…but something else too. A shift. This move was very real now.
I came back to my house a few hours later. I just wanted to find my boots, my favorite leather boots, the ones that feel like bedroom slippers and well-worn adventure. The ones that make me feel sassy and fierce. I need to feel that when there is so much change. Even positive change.
I meant to run into the house, grab what I needed and run back out. Stay busy, don’t feel too much. But it was too late. The memories, the magic of this home, have seemingly baked into the walls. Around every corner, layers of memories. And they came into my mind like a flash flood.
I could see Sophia, her golden hair in lopping curls, holding onto the walls as a toddler, hands splayed like little pink starfish, taking her first steps. I could see morning tickles and hear the musical laughter of my daughters. I saw us reading in Sophia’s lower bunk bed and my girls and I falling asleep for a summer afternoon nap, long and lazy. I looked at the door jams and saw where I marked their growth with a sharpie pen, now painted over with fresh white paint…ready for a new story.
As I stood on the stairs, trying to leave, my daughters ran past me, in various ages, ready to play, or
waiting to see their Christmas presents, or wanting to show me a dance recital they had just created. It was so beautiful that I was frozen in place, motionless.
How can I leave? How can I conjure such precious moments at will without the setting where they happened as a constant reminder?
I sat on the stairs and wept.
All the memories seemed to whisper…”Stay. Stay here and live with us. We will replay any time you want.” I stood up, wiped my eyes, thought of the adventure ahead and thought, “No” and walked into the kitchen.
I saw the place on the banquet where my father sat, and his shadow was telling me a story about Poland, or his world news travels, or how the words of one language mirrors another, while I made oatmeal on the gas stove in the morning sunshine. His presence so reassuring. I sat in his place and cried again. He is my rock.
This is the underbelly of consciously changing my life. Releasing things that are beautiful. There is a goodbye and gratitude inherent in the process, but it is not easy. I sat at my kitchen table, and though I never talk to objects, it helped to thank God for this house and for the healing, happiness and wholeness that happened here and to say goodbye to it.
I sat there for a long time, at my kitchen table, looking down into the den and seeing in my mind’s eye Christmas after Christmas, checker games, Papa playing guitar with my neighbor Shaun, and lazy days watching TV curled up with my daughters on my leather couch.
“You’ve got to let go. There’s no other way. You’ll need both hands to hold onto the future.”
At just the right time, I was sent this message in a text.
And then I remembered my boots. The ones that make me feel adventurous and I went up to my closet and found them there. I sat on the floor of my closet to put my boots on, this was also my “war room” of prayer over the years. It was here that I prayed through each phase of our lives. And then it hit me.
All of it, all of my prayers for health, healing, restoration, empowerment, simplification, freedom, were either answered or in the process of being answered at this very moment. Part of the process to answer my own prayers involves my willingness to step out in faith. It involves my willingness to release, which may involve what feels like sacrifice, and then moving forward.
Crafting a life I love is the direct result of my action and willingness to trust God and trust His process and His timing. God answers our prayers with our participation. And sometimes it feels messy.
Sometimes sorrow and joy slow dance together.
I slowly pulled myself together and went to our new space, the house I’m sharing with a generous widowed friend about my age and her kids. Now there are two dogs, hers and mine, K9 buddies which run around together. Now four kids, hers and mine, play together. I am more relaxed because there are three adults, myself, my father and my widowed mom host all helping one anther. By working together, all of our loads are lightened and the joy is easy. This new space welcomes me and the laughter is continual.
Yesterday, I told the the buyer of our house before we parted, “It’s good for this home to be part of both of our families. We love this place and it was crafted with love. I’m glad to know it will pass to another family that loves it too. It will always be special to my family, and now it will be special in your journey…and your journey here will be beautiful.”