I tried to write this yesterday and had three images I wanted to put into the post, but alas, I am so untutored in how to manage such things that after several tries I gave up! And probably forgot most of what I wanted to say. But here are some of my rambling thoughts on Home-Sweet-Home…………I have two homes, one in Ohio and one near Chautuaqua, New York. I’ve had one of them since 1980 and the other since 1981. I love them dearly and if I walk through them, I find them full of ghosts, even if most are the ghosts of people who are still alive. So many memories.
If I had to chose a time I would call “the glory years” it would probably be from 1984 to 1992. In ’84 and ’92 we spent most of the year on a sabbatical in Budapest, Hungary – Paul and I and our three children who attended local schools and worked on their Hungarian and connections to their Euopean relatives. In between, our children were growing “in wisdom and grace before the Lord”; with all my heart I was enjoying being a mother, gardener, herbalist and garden writer and Paul was moving on professionally: loving his teaching and research and carpentry work at the cottage, and becoming a full professor of computer science in ’87.
It is certainly not the case that no bad things happened during those years. They did. My father died after a difficult illness, one brother became estranged from the family, a beloved aunt, a nephew, a sister in law and my sweet, wonderful Nana all passed on. But Paul and I were so embedded in the joys of our lives, in the growth, in the excitement of being on the uphill slope, that that defined our experience those years. We wouldn’t have had time to see ghosts even if any had been there.
In one way I think we never lose the effect of the good things, the blessings, in our lives. But it is also true that walking through my two houses brings sharp bittersweet memories of what is no more. I am still trying to figure this out, to understand, to process the information, still trying to plan for the future and not feel overwhelmed. My son lives at home, but will probably move out within a year or so. At least that is the plan. I have a little dog Bo, a little black poodle, who is alive and lively in my world. I am lucky one daughter and her family live very near, and my other daughter and family are only a few hours away. And a lot of extended family is also very close. But there is something in my mind I still have to deal with.
The phrase “whence all but he had fled” comes to my mind. In my case, “she”. Paul and I both had the highest ideals about the loving family we wanted to create together and I think we did this. But that time is over. The children are grown. (Although the loving family is still here in a way, just at more of a distance.) And Paul has moved on to some other unknown world. He no longer walks or speaks to me in this one.
I think as I become more involved in the world, do more volunteering, make more friends, I will work through this emotion, this sense of the loss of home. I certainly hope so.
I really believe, in my mind, that home, as much as our nest building instincts kick in to enhance the physical space we inhabit, HOME is a matter of the spirit, of the heart, of the mind and emotions. Home is where we feel safe and loved. It can be in the arms of our beloved. It can rest in the mind of God, in our realization that while we exist we exist in Him, the ground of our being. And he in us…Realizing this I feel free. Realizing this I am at peace. I will never be homeless. Part of me has taken this in. I am working on the rest. This has nothing to do with the institutional church with which I have so many issues. But everything to do with that fact of existence and its implications.
That sounds a little too pretentious. But I think it is authentic. I am upheld. I am safe. Nothing I can do can change this while I live. And after, what does it matter?
I might be embarassed to write this if I thought anyone read it. But I doubt anyone does.
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