Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Moving On

We will live here at 150 Sunflower Drive, Farmerville, Lousiana for three more days, and I never expected to feel so sad about it. I am really surprised by the nostalgia that seems to physically attack me as I pack all our belongings in prescription medicine and milk boxes. (My husband is a pharmacist at a grocery store.)

The truth is that I was afraid of this house when I first saw it. I remember the creepy feeling in my gut when we walked in and saw that the master bedroom had a deadbolt on it that could lock someone in the room. I remember how much I disliked the old man who sold us the house. I remember my extreme feelings of irritation at the outrageous amount of awful wallpaper the previous owners had put up and at the fact that they had stained the light-colored carpet with orange wood polish in many places. I also remember the hideous bathroom with it's black linoleum countertop and floor, brown oak cabinets, and cream, maroon and silver wallpaper. And when we finally decided that it was all we could possibly afford as we had no down payment and Brandon would be the sole breadwinner while I attended college, I still wasn't happy about it.

It became ours the day before I forever changed my name, and our family moved us in while we were off on our honeymoon. When we returned home, my husband scooped me up, and carried me over the threshold. Then began the task of making the house a home. We began with removing the gosh-awful wallpaper, and creating lots of passionate memories--passionate love and passionate fights, in cycles. We bought new furniture and borrowed some old. We unpacked and found places for all of those wedding gifts, some useful, some bizarre. A year later, we brought home a rat terrier puppy who pissed all over that light colored carpet, adding to the stains. And a year after that, we ripped up that stained carpet and laid down laminate flooring with our ridiculous tax refund, and from that point on, there never was a question of where Daisy was in the house. You can hear her loudly clicking her toenails from any spot within the prescribed 1,000 square feet.

This place saw old friends move away and the beginning of new, lasting friendships. It saw plenty of card games, plenty of chicken and hamburger dinners cooked on the George Foreman (I didn't know how to cook back then), dinner parties established right in front of the door (we have no official dining area), slumber parties (my guests would happily sleep on our living room furniture or air mattress), the beginning and expansion of a piano/voice studio, several strange diet attempts (the most radical being the elimination of gluten when I discovered my wheat allergy), and multiple Christmas parties. These walls witnessed three major heartbreaks, a university transfer, and a church change. They witnessed alternating periods of mania and depression from my end and a strong, steadfast love and growth from Brandon's end. They witnessed lots of laughter and soul-wrenching sobs and the pain and joy found in finding comfort in one another's arms. They witnessed lots of self-discovery--Brandon and I not only loved each other, we liked each other, too; I didn't want to be an English professor. I wanted to stay home with my future children, give lots of children the gift of music, and write a bit on the side; Brandon found that he was not only cautious, but adventurous, too and embarked on an spec-house adventure; I discovered that I loved the stage; Brandon discovered that major changes aren't always bad.

And then Micah was born. Here was a soul alive for the first time, and as a result, my soul found life again. My heart for the Lord had grown cold during the years of my college education, and when Micah came into the world, I experienced Him afresh. Over the past year (Micah turns 1 year old on Friday), this home has been more full with laughter and life than I would have thought possible when we bought this creepy thing five and a half years ago. Micah has grown from a tiny, squinty-eyed infant who could do nothing but eat, sleep and poop into a little boy who can say 8 words, light up the world with his belly laugh and captivate everyone in a room by his red-headed, fireball presence. And I was almost a dead soul that was about as unhappy as a person can be because I had tasted the joy of the Lord and had lost it. Then, by God's grace and infinite mercies, I slowly found my way back to the heart of the Lord and am once again experiencing the life He intends for all people--abundant life.

And this place saw it all . . .

And because of that, it will never be forgotten.

Praise be to the God who saw potential in this home when I did not. You are better to me than I deserve.


Jessica Bremer said...

I am in tears! When we moved out of our first house that we brought Kensli home in I was a basketcase. I sat down on the stairs and cried for about 2 hrs. That was my home. It was where I built my marriage and started my family. I was heartbroken to say the least. It has been almost 2 years and I have forgotten that feeling a little. I sell young couple their first house all the time. And just like you, they have no idea what they are getting themselves into. I'm convinced that no other house is ever as special as your first home, but I'm sure you will make the new house your home soon! Good Luck!

Joel Sharpton said...

Oh, Mel, "topical" or "time-sensitive" doesn't begin to describe what you are. Thank you for this today. Ella and I are leaving New Orleans, the city I dreamed of for so long, the city that was Ella's first post-college home, the city that gave us Judah and Remy.

There are reasons we're leaving and they're good ones, but that doesn't make it easy to say goodbye.

Thanks for putting into words what I have been thus far unable to.

Amber said...

:) And just think of all the things this new house will see you and your family experience!!! Good times in the past and good times to come....God is good.