This week we handed the keys of our lake house to a new family.
While I’d cried many times during the process of letting this ‘real estate’ go, I only teared up once during the closing. It was when I looked at the new owners and told them that I’d really hoped a family would buy this home. This house needed a family.
I choked back the flood of words floating in my throat.
What I wanted to say was to take walks under the stars at night. To drink coffee on the deck as the birds danced in the trees. To lay on the floor and color with your kids. To pick blackberries on the trail. To hunt for morels. To walk on the trail during a snowstorm. To watch your husband play catch off the deck with your kids. To always have the fixings for s’mores for the fire.
To linger. To listen. To be.
For about a decade, this house (re)created me. People who know us well often believe this is where my husband healed from too many burdens on his very capable shoulders. And while they would be correct, I also had to find myself in the midst of the many distractions and demands that caused me to lose myself.
I thought I had to please everyone. I even thought I had to be a typical ‘suburban’ woman. Whatever that means! I got better at hearing what I thought everyone else needed than what my soul was screaming for.
So in this place, I found the space to listen to me again. Long walks or grueling runs on the rocky, hilly trail provided the space for the clutter in my heart to settle down. It was somewhere on that 17 mile trail that I got the courage to look for Linda again.
Slowly but surely, our weekends at the lake helped the image I wanted to see in my mirror become clear again. I was graciously accepted by my family as I communicated my need to embrace the country again. They watched me walk outside without shoes so I could feel life beneath my feet. They listened to my memories as the crops along Galena roads took me home to my roots. They explored the woods, collected wildflowers, and played at the beach with me. They were basically just about perfect for me.
This home provided the background for us to not just love each other, but to know and accept ourselves AND each other.
No internet, cable, or phones. Just real-time conversation with the people I love more than any others in the world. Even though we brought a bit of the lake house rhythms back with us, Ron and I grieved a bit every time we had to return to ‘life.’
For Father’s Day one year, I gave Ron a hammock to nestle in our back yard. It hung between two trees and held each of us as we cuddled, read, or watched the shooting stars.
Until a deer tangled up in the rope and destroyed the hammock. When we took it down, we were stunned to see that the tree had continued to grow around the ropes leaving a mark of its presence in the bark.
That’s kind of what this home did for me. As I was soaking in the life of our family at the lake house, I was changed. That mark is still there to remind me of who I really am.
I’ve listened to Miranda Lambert’s song, “The House that Built Me”
for years and until today, I visualized the farm where I grew up in as the main character of the song.
But after driving away from the lake house this week, I realized that 234 Jefferson Court also helped
build (re)create me. Some of her lyrics describe the impact of this home on me perfectly.
“You leave home, you move on and you do the best you can.
I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am.
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here it’s like I’m someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
If I could walk around I swear I’ll leave.
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that, (re)built me.”
Yes, I won’t take nothing but a heartful of memories and deep gratitude for the house that (re) built me.