Walking to the mailbox a few months ago, I had an epiphany. “I am not living the dream anymore.” I announced it out loud. It was a clarifying, freeing moment as I let myself accept the reality of what my life is now.
John and I moved to our home nearly 11 years ago. When we did our kids were 10, 8, 6 and 2. It now feels like a lifetime ago, but we made the most of every moment in this house. It has been full of the family happenings that transform a house into a beloved home: roller skating in the basement, bikes driven endless miles up and down the driveway, streamers bedecking the dining room for birthday parties, and a dinner table where countless hours were spent hearing the stories of the day. Teeth wiggled, books read, cookies baked, weeds pulled, homework completed, laundry folded, prayers lifted, and countless reasons for tears and laughter. We have lived and loved here well.
I didn’t think we would ever move.
But, it was never a widowed woman’s dream. No. It was the dream of a husband and wife who knew a half-century old home would need special care. We tackled it together and enjoyed working hard to make the house our own. One look at John just made me smile and keep on working at the task at hand. But by myself? No fun at all.
Over the past three years, I have learned that some of the most beautiful aspects of marriage are only understood and appreciated when they are gone. John energized me. It was mutual. Whatever the task or struggle, we energized one another to press forward. I didn’t fully realize how essential he was to my daily encouragement and motivation until he was gone.
He was also what made this house tick.
So, three years later I was finally able to say it out loud: I am not living the dream. Living here was a dream we shared but it was never one I would have chosen by myself. I now have different dreams. Dreams of a home that I can manage alone. One that doesn’t burden me with tasks beyond my capabilities and strength. He was the handy, strong one, not me.
The decision to move has been like false labor. Some days I was certain, other days the sheer task of it overwhelmed me. One Sunday afternoon I sat and told a friend my dilemma: to go or not to go. She listened and then politely, gently said:
“I like your reasons for moving, but I don’t really like your reasons for staying.”
Honest words from a friend. She was right. Her wise observation helped me keep talking to the Lord about my desire for a new place to make our home. (My blog from March 27 “What Do You Really Want?” was written in the midst of this time.)
Little by little this spring, the Lord kept inching me forward. I promised the kids I wouldn’t sell the house out from under us until we had found the new one. Weeks of looking passed, but I didn’t find anything. My realtor came by one day, and I told her I just wasn’t seeing anything that interested me. “Maybe I will just tough it out and live here several more years,” I told her.
I spoke out of turn.
The next day I found a house that was a great fit for us now and in the years to come. Later in the summer I will share more details about the Lord’s kindness to us with our new home, but it is remarkable! In the past few busy weeks, I have put a contract on a new home and put ours on the market. I have battle scars to prove it: a nasty leg burn, an injured hand and too many bruises to count. But I am smiling and feeling free.
John always said if anything ever happened to him, I should sell the house. I am taking his advice. He’d be relieved. I am too. When the day actually comes to leave and I look around for the last time, it. will. be. hard. But, I know we take it all with us- in every treasured memory we will always be together. Home goes with us and our truest, forever home is before us.
Loving the One who makes His home with us & never ever leaves,
Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them.” John 14:23