Standing squarely, both feet planted firmly on the ground and staring straight down the road toward a brand new life one cannot help but feel a range of emotions. There is excitement and anticipation for the adventure that is about to begin and yet it is accompanied by tinges of nostalgia and sadness for that which is being left behind.
This is what I’ve been experiencing on a nightly basis upon my return home from work. I have moved many times in my life. Twelve to be exact… and yes that makes this particular move of mine “Lucky Number 13.” But for anyone who has moved you know that some homes hold special places in your heart. This home has been just that for me.
I consider myself fortunate to have called so many unique, beautiful and interesting places “home” over the years — like a dude ranch high in the breathtaking Colorado Rockies and an ancient adobe-turned-studio-apartment in New Mexico (where I slept in a loft above my walk-in closet… accessible only by an equally-old, wooden ladder.)
Also in New Mexico, there was the four-bedroom, brick ranch that I helped to gut and remodel with my own two hands, blood, sweat and tears… And the gorgeous upstairs condo overlooking a bare, unblemished desert. From my windows there I could watch the mountains as they transformed from purple to a fiery salmon and eventually a deep blue in one 24-hour period.
And as fascinating and different and “exotic” as those destinations were from the place in Northeastern Ohio where I was born, raised and currently reside… my simple two-bedroom home has been a sanctuary. I walked in the door three years ago… 50 pounds overweight and pretty beaten down by life. Suffice it to say that it was through both circumstance and choice that I arrived in this state of being and unpacked my things within these walls a completely different person than the one who is typing these words.
The 100 year old charm is built right in, constantly making itself known in the creak of each floorboard — this home, all that surrounds it and the time that I have spent here has literally served in the re-building of me. It sits across the street from my parents, two blocks from my sister and seven nieces and nephews and is literally surrounded on ALL other sides by people who knew me as a child.
In the town that I came from and during the time in which I grew up there, the notion that it takes a village to raise a child was not only accepted it was EXPECTED. So when I returned to that very same neighborhood, 33 and broken, it seemed that my family, everyone around me, as well as the house and the neighborhood itself… all had a hand in putting me back together again.
With just the tiniest bit of sadness and a giant heap of gratitude I have begun re-packing my things into boxes and am thrilled at the thought of a new life ahead. The lump in my throat that forms each time I remove a picture from the wall tells me that the house’s work is done now. At least it is for me.
With hammers, nails, lumber, drywall and shingles it provided a quiet shelter during the storms, a safe place to pause and heal, reflect, refresh, reset and renew. It has finished its work in me. And when I leave my keys behind, I’ll know the time has come to move on.