Sunday, January 11, 2009

Saying goodbye to a happy house.

Yesterday I said goodbye to our house of 33 years. Unbelievable! Yes, 33 years in one place. That doesn't happen too often in our transient world.

Saying farewell to this house was a departure of choice for us. With our two children both married, my husband and I decided we wanted to opt for living in a smaller, simpler place. The realization that time passes so quickly brought us to the crossroads of deciding how we want to spend our time. Tending a quarter acre lot was never-ending. Although doing so brought great satisfaction at times, it left us feeling drained and longing for time to pursue other things. So many families are facing departures right now and they have no other choice. Honestly, I don't know what it feels like to face foreclosure. I'm thankful for this house...a treasured shelter for so many years.

Like any family, we had our times of light-hearted play, joy and celebration in this house and also our moments of conflict, chaos and struggle to hold it all together. We remember both the good times and the hard times as it is part of who we are. The tapestry of our relationships is woven with both the pleasure and pain we all experience.

Time to leave...I got into my car and slowly backed out of the driveway. I paused there in the street waiting to drive away. I found it very difficult to put my foot on the accelerator and proceed up the street. It was like I was frozen and unable to move forward. But the inevitability of doing so eventually gave me the courage to face the realization that it was time to move on. It felt very unreal.

As I left the neighborhood I thought about the fact that in moving, I leave the structure...the shelter that was our physical haven. With me I take the tapestry...the experiences, the memories, and the relationship our family has created in dwelling together. My children are now weaving their own tapestries in new places. Rich and I will continue to create more relationship in a new physical location.

A friend recently commented to me that in seeking new adventure, we find it is always accompanied by some type of loss. I found that true yesterday. Leaving brings unfamiliarity, discomfort, and uncertainty. The flip side is I get to take the relationships and the recollections with me. Home is not just the physical dwelling place, but the true sense of being connected with our families and experiencing life together.

When we listed our house for sale, our real estate agent said that we had a happy house and prospective buyers can sense the emotion of a house when house-shopping. Apparently some homes are sad and lack a warmth that attracts people. I'm glad to know the people who now inhabit our house are anticipating a positive experience living there.

Life coaching is often about transitioning from a "known" to an "unknown." This journey of leaving will take me to a place of greater understanding and empathy as I coach others on their path of change.

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