Many years ago my sister use to visit me at my house. I use to ask her “does it feel like home?” She would look at me with that stupid look that only sisters can manage to create and say “don’t be an idiot, yes.”
But she didn’t get it.
I use to move my furniture, rearrange it again. Buy a picture. Get a knick knack. I would sit in my home and look at everything, from every angle. Maybe the table over there makes it more homey. If I put the afghan out that grandma made me, does that make it more comfortable looking? Does this look like a home? More importantly, does it feel like a home?
I asked that question many many times, in more than one house. Of more than one person.
Then we moved in to another house. A made to order house. It still didn’t feel right at first. I was too restrained by the walls that were to put life of my own in the walls. Then one day I realized I was looking at something someone else created and put up. Designed. Thought was the best way to use this space. To provide room to live and grow for a family.
I did not want to live in someone else’s space any more. I still felt restrained. Constrained.
And the walls came down.
I rebuilt my world, my house. I changed, added, created. My house turned warm. It became comfort. Finally it became my home.
I did not have to ask anyone else if it felt like “a” home. Because it was home. The structure was not what made it or didn’t make it home. It had never felt like home because of me. I thought I had to put some thing in to the structure to make it home. I had to find the right chair. Put the furniture at just the right angles. But I had to put me in to the home. Taking down the physical walls wasn’t what made the difference. It was breaking free of the restraint and the image I was trying to have the walls and the furniture give me. I stopped looking at my house as a house. And looked at it as my haven. My comfort. A place to love and feel comfort.
Finally, I was home.
Never did I walk in and wish I was somewhere else. But often I would be somewhere else, and wish I was home. I felt safe there. I loved there. I relaxed there.
Though tears and sad times were lived through there, it was a happy place for me. A good place. My place.
Today, I sat at a table. I signed papers. Papers that went from hand to hand. As my home went from my heart, to someone else’s hands.
My home was no more my home sweet home.
In this past year we have worked and reworked a new house. Tearing down work that someone else put in to these walls to create their own home. We tore out their work, to make it our own.
Today as I sat across the table from someone else who would live in this house….
I was happy for them.
We drove away. This home no more my home. I envisioned the work and life I put in that home.
Realized it was being painted over. Torn out. And not mine.
And I cried.