Exactly one year ago today, Mitch and I were moving the last of our belongings into a little place just outside of town. We’d celebrated one year of marriage the week before and were full to the brim in our new life together. God’s hand had been in the whole process. We’d established our budget, visited some listings, and weighed our options. But, there was something about this beauty; it had literally fallen into our laps. I’ve told friends this before, but it’s true: everyone has lists of what they want in a house. There’s a “Wish List” and a “Necessary List.” When the search is on, we all know that settling on a house often means sacrificing some, or all, of the “Wish List” to obtain that which is necessary. This was not the case with ours. It was and is perfect for us. Mitchell got his man-space in a shop adjacent to the driveway; a third bedroom serves as my atelier at the far corner of the house. We’ve beautiful sleek floors, a gas fireplace, stonework in the kitchen, and a pergola just beyond the back door. Our bedroom ceilings are vaulted high, the bathroom is huge, and we each have our own walk-in closets. Our yard fills an acre and our neighborhood is quiet and sweet. It’s cozy enough for the two of us, but open and warm enough for friends. We were in awe of the details that fell together perfectly, allowing us to call this place ours.
We’d freshly painted the master bedroom in “chocolate truffle” and all of our floors were covered mayhem. That Halloween evening consisted of pure exhaustion and complete excitement as we sunk into our mattress on the living room floor for our first sleep in OUR new home. We kept our lights off and prayed for no trick-or-treaters, because we’d had no time to get candy. Even if we had, I wouldn’t have known where to look for it in all the rubble. I racked my brain for what we would give out if an excited little goblin or princess were to knock at our door. To our advantage, none did.
This Halloween, our house lights are dark again. And, ironically, I have bookoos of candy that I need to send somewhere. But, all of those Jolly Ranchers, Werther’s, Jelly Bellys, and Lifesavers sit in our pint-sized pantry in a loft in the city, a place that is more likely to see a costume-clad, drunken street party than the neighborhood kids skipping from door-to-door. (My mom is right: I will always be a country girl…)
I miss my shower head.
St. Louis has been excellent, but I’m ready to go home now.
It’s almost as if I expect our house to be an escape, a portal back into “real” life. What am I doing right now? This is real life. Then, my mind wanders to what really makes home, home: our people. What about them? Will they expect us to be our “normal” selves again? Will they continue to wait for us, pray for us after we return home? Or will we be expected to jump back into the motions? Do they realize that there is no going back to “normal” life? Nor our “normal” selves? These are our new selves. We’ll have to be reintroduced, get-to-know-you all over again. Even who we are now is not who we want to be. We still have a lot of healing to do.
M and I were both able to take some time this week for real workouts. That in and of itself is healing. For me, it was the first time in over seven months. (yikes…)
But, dang, it felt good.
The last few days especially, I’ve been examining myself. I stand in front of the mirror and the girl that looks back at me bears what has happened over the course of this year. I see twenty pounds gained from endless days with hospital food and confinement. I see skin that’s been ravaged by stress and sleepless nights on a foam-covered wood-slab. I see scars, both visible and not, from the blows of an invisible enemy.
You know what else I see? I see a light in my eyes that had been absent. I see strength returning as I move and train. I see sweat that comes from energy used and a goal pursued. I see stitches dissolve and wounds heal. I see words that jump onto pages from a place in me that was previously vacant. I see hope. I see where I am going.
Although I may not be there yet, though it may take months, I will get there. I will get to be me. Please be patient. Let us recover – completely. Let us regain ourselves. Let us build who we were and who we’ve become into one being. Allow us time to figure out who that is.
I miss my home. All of it. I miss my bed, my yard, my people, my church…and as sweet as getting back to them will be, there is no “going back” to the way things were. We can’t and we don’t want to. There is only forward. Onward.
So, soon, we will make our way back to the country. We will gain strength and we will return to the little white house we were gifted a year ago. We will go back to hallowed ground.