I keep trying to identify ways in which I’ve changed since my life changed.
It’s never been easy to nail down, I suppose, just because I could never identify just one thing.
Certainly my wife’s death was an earth shattering change, but it was one that set in motion so many others. There were so many that I didn’t know who I was from one day to the next. Changes are still occurring, and will continue for a while, but somehow I think I can say that I have become a bit more solid.
With change I became less sure of myself. I didn’t know what to do, what was right, what was wrong. Unable to make choices I became less substantial, diffuse, drifting aimlessly from one thing to another: a ghost.
I lost my anchor.
I went through a period where I just couldn’t walk anywhere without realizing that the rest of the world was just going on as if nothing had happened.
There were moments where I just wanted to stand in the middle of the street and scream at the top of my lungs,
“Damn you! How can you not know that the foundation of the world has cracked beneath my feet?! How can you be so oblivious?!”
But then I realized that it was only the foundation of my world in which the fissures appeared. I was looking at everything from a different perspective. There was a different aspect of the world I had only previously glimpsed, but now saw more clearly. The veil was lifted.
I began to understand that the rest of the world doesn’t really know what to do with us when we experience events that make some of us realize that all that we have been told is important seldom really is. They don’t know what to do with those of us who have been forced to look behind the Wizard’s curtain in Oz.
It finally hit me that the events of my life have been used to shape me into someone who has a role in this world that will come clear to me when I am there. God saved me out of all this for a reason.
I was torn apart and reassembled with purpose.
That knowledge gives me substance.
It made me solid. A ghost no more.
I had already been equipped to deal with these events before they happened. All I needed to do was to keep doing what I had been doing all along.
I had already learned the value of commitment, so I remained committed.
I already knew the value of the Truth, so I remained True.
I had already learned what real love is, and what it requires of me, so I kept loving.
For though I’m no longer married, I’m still a husband.
There is an ideal to which I remain committed.
I was always longing for something, now I know what it is, but it’s only for me.
Your longing is different, your time will come to know it.
I will be moving into a new house soon. My house will soon be my house, I will fill it with those things that are unique to my tastes, my neighbors will be my neighbors.
I will be in a place where no one knows my history.
I’ll just be the guy in that house.
I realized that I have never been in a home that was made up of me alone.
Home was always someplace where I came back to someone.
I’m about to be in a new space; where no one in my family has ever lived.
A place where the walls have never been imbued with the memories of those who love me.
A place where I did not grow up, my wife never greeted me, my children never raced through the hallways, nor my pets ever roamed.
It will be a space where I am free to define the boundaries of my existence.
I will make my own decisions about what I like or dislike.
I have always defined my role in life based on the needs of others.
When I step across the threshold of this house I will enter a world of complete unknowns.
I won’t have to stop in the doorway and decide who I am going to take care of first.
My family and friends are with me, and they will help me fill it with new memories that will make it a home.
Because in the end buying this house has never been just a financial transaction.
It’s a need; a calling.
Singer Marc Cohn wrote a song called “Olana”. The word means “Treasure House”, a house filled with the things most important to you. One of the last lines in the song goes like this:
“And looking back on everything
All I ever wanted was a home”
All I ever wanted was a home”
And really, that’s still all I want.
That’s what I long for.
©Dan Bode 2012