Wednesday, January 1, 2020

A House Becomes Home

 I love the movie, The Magic of Ordinary Days. The reasons I love this movie are many and varied. The time period, the love story, the simplicity, the work ethic, the community and the raw emotions of the characters are a few reasons. The most relevant reason though, it's about life.

Ordinary sounds so...well, ordinary. But don't we consider most of our days ordinary? Yet when we look back, we tend to see and remember the special times, and suddenly realize that many of those times happened on ordinary days.

This is a picture of an ordinary house in Sherwood Hills, Colonial Heights, Virginia. A rent house for many years, it was worn and weary from neglect when we bought it in September of 1992. It needed a new roof, had termites on the front shutters, was outdated with shag carpet the color of bad celery, and the downstairs was as dark as a dungeon.  Saying it was an ordinary house is being quite generous. Not only did I not love this house, I didn't even like it. But it was what we could afford and had what we needed.

So began a twenty-seven year saga. And since the definition of magic implies wizardry or supernatural forces, I'm changing it to blessing. Because only God could bless us with so many ordinary days in that humble house that were so good, that leaving was so very, very hard.



  We were in our early forties and our youngest child was a junior in high school. Our oldest son had married that summer and our family was on the cusp of exploding with in-laws and grandchildren. Howard was still on active duty at Ft. Lee and we were still very much a military family.


 Our children began to marry and soon the grandchildren started to arrive. Since we had five children there were times we had three grandchildren arrive in the same year. So began the celebrations of weddings and births.

We celebrated promotions, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and graduations. And we also mourned several deaths in our family. Over the years the house was renovated time and time again. An inground swimming pool was added in 1997 and I remember thinking that we would enjoy it for many long years. And we did. We spent wonderful lazy summer days with family near and far. Friends came, food was grilled, kids swam and everyone went home happy and tired. The summers around that pool couldn't be rivaled.  


Over time I grew to love this house. It had slowly become our home where we opened our door to not only our family, but friends as well. Every room in our home had memories deeply embedded, and I seemed to see each one when I knew our time in this place was coming to an end. I could see card games played around the table or food covering every counter in my kitchen as we shared meals. We opened our home to a young couple with two children who were moving to Virginia, and had no place to stay over a weekend before their rental would be available on Monday. I felt blessed that I had the room to accommodate them on a very short notice. I have many sweet memories from that weekend. As a mentor to Mops Moms, I welcomed them into my home for many meetings or pot-luck meals where the fellowship with those young mothers has a sweet place in my heart.

Those memories are very special and precious, but the ones I treasure most are the ordinary days. The days it was warm enough to have my windows open and hear the birds sing and see neighbors walking by, or the many Saturday mornings when we were lazy and drank coffee and talked until mid morning. Or the many hours I spent in my swing on my screened back porch, my go-to- place when I was a little down, because I always came away happy. And some of the best are the memories of the late summer evenings by the pool listening to the frogs croaking in the creek behind the house. Just turning the key, opening the door, and walking into our sanctuary where we lived, loved, cried, laughed, learned and grew for 27 years made my heart happy. My prayer is that we honored God through the ordinary days living in the house He blessed us with that I not only didn't love, but I didn't even like. And only He knows how hard it was to leave.



Saying Goodbye