Homecoming

Transitioning into the new.

“Upton Abbey”

After a year, beginning with a painful, but necessary parting from our home of 35 years, we are finally settled in our new place. I call it “Upton Abbey” since it’s mostly up above the garage at our daughter and Son-in-law’s house. Many have questioned the wisdom of being above anything at our age (how old do you think we are, anyway?) but notice we have a ramp. Our offices are at ground level. Mine is in the front; Jody’s is just behind it.

It’s cozy. One bedroom, walk through closet and a bath with laundry. There’s a deck and living, kitchen/dining space which is big enough to have family dinners and host the house churches from time to time like we used to. It’s all that the two or us need.

We’re grateful that our kids don’t mind having the “old folks” next door!

Family dinner in the making.

The Home We Left Behind

Today, I realize that I have not posted an entry in my “Word Carver” blog in over a year. The last one was a glimpse of a difficult time: the closing of the door on 35 years–half of my life–spent in my home on 78th Avenue. I was awash in melancholy.

The days of purging before that last post were fresh and aching. The yard sale, when our belongings were carried away like the spoils of war; each trip to Goodwill–these were like tearing out pieces of my life. I experienced something like guilt. The moving felt like betrayal–ruthless rejection. The house had sheltered us; provided comfort and safety. It had embraced us. Now, I was ripping away scraps of it like necrotic tissue. It stung.

The reasons for the move are still valid. Having decided not to share our home with other “tenants”–some 85 people over the years— the house was too big for two of us. Five bedrooms and three bathrooms were more than we needed. Moreover, we were less inclined to maintain the space, a requirement for homeowners. Inside or outside, an older two-story house is a lot of work–we had other things we would rather do.

Furthermore, Portland, as I am fond of saying these days, “ain’t the city she used to be.” In the waning months of 2020, the city was rocked by riots and hooliganism. Symbols of heritage and authority were being toppled. Statues of Washington, Jefferson, even an elk, were defaced or demolished. The police department of which our son-in-law was a part, had become the enemy. A homeless village was forming a block away. The question loomed: how long will property values hold, particularly after the coming election? The fabric of civil order was already coming unraveled. What would happen if the disastrous administration were to win another four years?

As turned out, we needn’t have worried. Property values held steady or even increased after we moved. Still, there had been reason for concern. As the saying goes, hindsight is always 20/20.

There was a more important reason to move, though. Did it make sense to wait another ten years to make this move? We would be in our 80s. Moving then would certainly be a bigger challenge. And as the time of our relocation drew nearer, we would likely have become more reliant on our children and others for help with maintenance, not to mention the move. Moreover, it made more sense to do this while we could steer our own destiny–earn a hernia in the process– rather than be swept along by circumstance. It did, and does make more sense to be “the master of our fate and the captain of our soul.”

And then, there were the ghosts of the future: One of us left alone in that big house, left with only memories and quiet. The somber removal to hospital deathbed or funeral home. The estate sale with its parade of strangers picking through the remnants of our lives, bartering our existence.

No. Moving was the right decision.

But there was grief. The last day, I walked through the deserted rooms and halls; inspected our 5000 square foot homestead. I sat on the steps in the side yard, which had been mostly for storage and constantly needing tidying. I thought of the empty house; the newly mowed yard; the last items in the back of the car waiting to be taken away. I remembered the hundreds of people who had been here. I remembered…

Evenings glad with music.
A hearth-fire that’s ablaze.
The gifts that come to mortals
in a thousand different ways.

… laugher and contentment,
And the struggle for a goal.
… everything that’s needful
For the shaping of a soul.” *

I wept.

Occasionally, in the transitional months that followed the move, while we remained cloistered in a 26′ trailer waiting for our new house to be built, I would sense a familiar tightness in the back of my throat, a choking feeling. I first noticed it after my sister passed away. It was grief. Sometimes, foolishly, I would succumb to temptation. I would search my computer for the photos of the old house that our realtor took when she listed the property. I would wander through the rooms and remember the unseen details of every closet and corner — spending my grief. Emptying it. Hoping it would eventually subside–knowing it would.

It’s been over a year. We are now in a wonderful new place near family. We live in the country amid trees, birds and even chickens. There are new sounds and the scent of earth and trees. From our living room window, we see a new world stretch out before us. I am finally able to call it “home” without feeling guilty for abandoning the house on 78th–the house that loved us. There are days I still feel like a guest for a moment or two. But as winter turns to spring, I can feel the changing of the seasons. The prospect of summer, autumn and another winter reassures me. I feel the promise that, as the pandemic wanes, we will, again, throw open the doors and welcome friends and family to share our place on earth.

The thought brings me home.

~~~

  • Living, by Edgar A. Guest

A Tough Day

Saying Goodbye to My Home

Sometimes it’s a good idea to just let yourself grieve over the passing of time and places. So, here is one of those times.

Driven Back to Our Roots

Surrendering what we’re satisfied with…

I realize I have been lamenting the destruction of our national symbols. But, could it be this is not a bad thing relative to the Kingdom? If we remove the idols of nationalism, may we find our way back to Y’shua? If we can no longer rely on the American creed, and we cannot embrace what is coming, then will we not be driven back to the roots of our faith, the Kingdom message? If we must surrender what we’ve been satisfied with, might God give us what we are hungry for?

Journaling

I’ve been journaling for a long time. I think I have old journals dating back to the early nineties. I have decided to occasionally revisit some of those old thoughts and musings and include them here.

Sometimes, I won’t even go that far back, rather just “think out loud” or perhaps better put, think on paper. At the time of this entry we are all going through a time of profound change and upheaval. It seems appropriate for me to share some of my feelings as we do.

June 2020

Quarantine…systemic racism…police brutality…sexual preference…

I am confused and burdened by the world right now. I feel disappointed in myself that I can’t seem to rise above it, trust only the Lord. I imagine waiting it out and returning to “normal.” But there is the possibility that we won’t know what the “new normal” is for a very long time.

Abba, the moorings of this society are weakening. The tethers that have held us are coming undone. How shall we then live? Since we are being drawn into a world of expanding options, it is needful that we choose. We are required to choose, knowing that when we do we will be traduced and condemned. We must choose who we will serve and make peace with the consequences.