This is the post that has been rolling in my head the most and what prompted me to return to blogging. Losing my house has been a most trying experience for me. When I was thick in the throws of the decision process, I asked my pastor why, when I have come through some pretty dark times, why was this one so hard for me. He simply said, “because you are a woman, and women are nesters at heart. This is messing with your nest.” He was dead spot on. Through this process I have realized that I am a pretty strong person of roots. I had made my house a home--my home, and I have no desire to move it around. I had carefully repainted and decorated every inch of it. My kids have called it home for six years, and with the exception of Kristen, do not remember living anywhere else. When the divorce happened, it was so important to me to keep as much of their life as normal as possible. I did not want them to lose their father and their home at the same time. And it worked….for a time.
There was also this over-whelming sense of failure. I had fought so hard to keep the kids in their home, and now it wasn’t working. I was not being able to provide for my kids. But again, I had to be reminded by those close to me, that I was forced into this position. It wasn’t supposed to be that I was caring for these children alone or that Paul was to fix all the errors of the past. Some things just can’t be fixed. It wasn’t my burden of failure to bear. It took me a long while to fully understand that. And, amazingly enough, when I finally surrendered and told the kids we would be moving, they took it pretty well!!! I was amazed at how they do not really need the house to be “home.” They taught me how much home is were your loved ones are. It doesn’t matter what walls we live in, just that we are together. I know I will need to be reminded of this again when in a few weeks I see my empty house.
Another aspect of this loss is the memories that it drudged up. When it became appearant that he was really not coming back, I packed up many things and just put the boxes up in the attic. These boxes have not been touched since until earlier this summer when I began packing and cleaning. I had to go through these things and get rid of a lot. It reopened the whole thing for me. I relived the abandonment all over again. I happened to pick up a People magazine recently while waiting in the dr.’s office. I am sure most of you have heard some of the Elizabeth Edwards story. I have seen several interviews with her, and relate so much with her story. The magazine article had an excerpt from her book and it jumped out at me. I in no way say I agree with her politically, but I think the quote sums up exactly why losing my house has been especially hard on me. “When I see John, I don’t just see the today that others’ see. I see all the memories….We have raised four children and buried one. So when I close the door on the John of today, I also had to say good-bye to that sweet man whom I had loved for so long. It was not as easy as it might have seemed to anyone looking in from the outside, who knew only the John of today. And I have to wonder if he is sad, too, when he thinks of that young man.” Rodney and I had twelve years together, most of which were not that bad. I was forced to make a new life for myself, and while I love this new life, and I really do believe it is better than the life I had before, it is still a loss that must be grieved. I was in such a state of survival for so long, I do not know how much I fully allowed myself to grieve . Loosing this house has forced me to do this. Paul has been so loving and patient. I am sure it has not been easy for him. But he has held me and let my cry and cry.
As I was cleaning out the attic, I came upon things that used to be Rodney’s. While it was so tempting to just throw it all away, I knew the right thing to do was to offer it to him. That Saturday afternoon was one of the best days of healing for me ever. Things with him have been pretty civil for a bit now, but the conversation that came forth that day, put so much to rest. I will keep the details of that conversation between him and I, but this process has reminded me yet again that we must go through the fire to be purified and come out as gold.
I entitled this post “the bridge” for a specific reason. As Paul and I were in the thick of trying to find a house big enough to accommodate our large family, Dad and Mom LaFlamme told us they wanted to talk to us. I never saw what was coming!!! Dad presented to us the option of them buying a new house and us renting their current house. Now, keep in mind this is the house that they have owned for 30 years, and everyone grew up in. My first thought was that it would never work. It would be too awkward. But as prospect after prospect fell through, and money was as tight as it could get, both Paul and I began to see it as a viable option. In another conversation I had with mom, I was relating to her the feelings of failure and that we are taking a step backward by needing to rent a house for a while instead of buying. She told me to look at this time not as a step back but as a bridge. WOW!!! That hit me hard, and the more I thought on it, the more I knew she was right. Even though Paul and I have been married nearly two years, living in the same house as Rodney and I did was in some ways still hanging on to the past. Living in Mom and Dad’s house is the transition time we need to get into our place.
I do so strongly dislike waiting!!!! We plan to be at Mom and Dad’s not more than two or three years at the latest. But, we all know what the economy is like, and it pretty difficult to get a loan these days. Right now, it is hard for me to see that I could ever consider this house “mine.” I see us as borrowing it to help us get through. I will forever be indebted to these two wonderful people who have adopted me as their own, and so lovingly cared for their grandchildren. I can not say enough about them. They have helped me in far more ways than I could ever put into words. They are giving me practically a blank check when it comes to decorating the house. I can repaint anything I want, and they are even letting us install my dishwasher in the kitchen!!! (Mom, I don’t know how you lived without one for 30 years!!) They are offering us a safe place that is big enough for our family of seven to spread out in!!! The kids are excited to be moving to somewhere so familiar. They know the neighborhood very well, and some very good friends of ours live just three houses down!!!!
I have been reminded many times through these last few months of my favorite verse in Scripture: I Cor. 10 :13. “There hath no temptation (trial) taken you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful, and he will not tempt you beyond that which you are able. But will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”