So I sold my house the other day.
I have never sold a house before, and I have to say it’s not fun. It’s great when it’s all done for sure, but the process stinks. There were people in my house when I wasn’t there, whom I didn’t know. They were looking at my environment in order to judge whether it was good enough for them, and therefore judging the quality of my house. Then I realized that as I am looking for a new house myself I am doing the same thing to others. Ugh. I give them my sincere sympathy as I judge their living space for its suitability to my desires. And the funny thing is that this is a completely acceptable form of hypocrisy! Oh the joy!
The reason I am selling is because I’ve finally reached a point where I can take a step forward in the journey of my life. There have been times in my life where blessings have poured down on me like a torrential rain that has left me breathless. Everything comes together like it was planned that way when I did nothing but watch. This is one of those times. Don’t get me wrong; there have been plenty of times when I didn’t feel blessed at all, and in fact thought I was plodding through a desert eating sand. I was carried through those times and they have made the blessings that come after that much sweeter. I can say now looking back that the suffering is made worth it by the blessing that came after. I didn’t feel that way then though.
This house was a good house for me. It did what it was supposed to do: provide shelter, safety, warmth. A lot of stuff happened there; some good, some bad. Some dramatically bad and life changing. I learned that a house is not necessarily a home. A house is not defined by the events that occur within its walls. It only becomes a home by the spirit with which you imbue it. So the spirit of my home is completely dependent on me.
For a long time my home was not so welcoming for me. It was a place to sleep. Many years of my life were spent occupying space in someone else’s home, and so I didn’t have an opportunity to learn how to make a home for myself. When I was alone I didn’t know how to “become” my home.
And then I met a woman, and my eyes were opened.
In the process of preparing my house to be sold I needed to make some changes. There was painting and landscaping and cleanup. Then it had to be “staged”.
Staging is an odd concept for me. You have to make the house look like it’s lived in, but you can’t leave it looking like it has actually been lived in. You have to decorate and arrange it so people can see its potential rather than its reality. Believe me when I tell you that my life was spent hiding its potential with discarded clothes and way too much furniture. I didn’t realize how much “stuff” I still had that crowded my life until it was gone.
Here is where this woman helped me recognize what I needed to do.
Brenda has an eye for color and decoration. In fact I would say she is truly gifted in this area. So when it came time to stage the house I asked her to take a look at things and see what she could do. So she did, and it changed everything.
When she was done I found that I actually loved this house. It felt like home again. It was decorated to suit me and be useful. It wasn’t just a place to take up space anymore. When I walked in I realized that if I had understood what to do and how to express it I would have done exactly what she did.
I told this to my friend Cliff one day and he said, “So she made your dreams come true?”
“Yes! That’s it!”
She came in and chose to know and understand me, and I her. I chose to allow her in, and know her.
It’s ironic, though appropriate, that I got my home after she touched it, and now have to leave it behind.
This is a good thing, because now I get to marry her.
Now we get to make a new home. There will be a better spirit there, a better purpose. A better life.
We’ve both been through enough of life that we understand what we want in our home. We started the relationship in honesty and have continued to build it that way. So as we look for a new house we look at it in terms of how it will be suited to conform to our desires.
We will make it ours.
It’s a wonderfully odd thing for me to be able to live in a relationship without walls. To have an opinion and have it heard and respected, and still be loved for it whether she agrees with me or not, and not lose my sense of self in the process. We complement each other in so many ways that we are starting to finish each other’s sentences.
It’s weird. In a totally good way though!
Leaving the house itself is actually more difficult than I expected. When you’ve lived in one space for long enough there are attachments both good and bad. Buying this house turned out to be the one decision in my marriage where there was no argument or discussion necessary. We both felt that this was the place we needed to be, and being there, for me at least, was a key to my survival.
My neighbors are also my friends (most of them anyway), and that relationship overcomes the physical distance that moving will create. So, for a while yet, even though I don’t live there anymore, I will still automatically drive to that place because that’s what I’ve done for so long. It’s part of me.
There is some difficulty in letting it all go. As I went through the process of first realizing that I still had more stuff than I really wanted, and then getting rid of it, I uncovered many things I forgot I had. I still had the pins the doctor pulled out of my hand when I broke it in high school, and my Webelo/Boy Scout badges from my childhood to name a few.
Once I moved everything out of the house I started the cleanup. I went from room to room vacuuming, sweeping, cleaning. As I finished one room I backed out and closed the door. This room was my room. A lot of history there. This was my daughters’ room. I said goodnight to them there.
Down the hall and into the living/dining area. I spent more time here than anywhere else I think. All the family activities occurred here. A lot of wood went through that fireplace, and I finally got that wood burning insert that I had always wanted.
Then the kitchen. Cleaning all the drawers, countertops and shelves for the last time, and mopping the floor. I backed up to the door to the garage with the mop, and shut the door for the last time. I loaded up the car with the last of everything and drove away.
I learned a great deal while I lived there. I learned what real love is. I learned what real commitment means. I learned about promises and sacrifice.
So I walked out of that house a better man than when I walked in 17 years ago.
Everything I learned there I will take with me and put it all in our new home. It will serve as a foundation for what is to come.
Because here’s the thing: I’m not just leaving a house.
I’m changing my destination.
For 17 years every road I have traveled on has ultimately ended here at this structure. No matter how far away I was when I got on the plane or got in the car I took the steps that led me here. When I turned the corner this house was always there. At the end of every day I came to this place.
I’m changing my way home. Home will be Brenda now, and I will be Home for her.
No more baby steps.
All big steps, and all in the right direction.
©Dan Bode 2015