I was a mess when I had to let go of my favorite home. It was a house in a green field surrounded by tall birch trees that would gently rustle when the wind blew. I used to crave that sound when I was away. It was the home I came home to between semesters and for Summer vacations. It was the home where family dance parties were born. It was the home I went on my first date and to my first dance. It was my happy place.
My husband’s childhood home was sold this last year and it really took a toll on him. I could understand; I had been in his shoes before. I remembered what it felt like to lose my home. I loved that home of his too. It was the place where we built our relationship. Our hearts grew, and broke, and mended in that home. It’s where we both fell in love for the first time.
Home has always held a special place in our hearts. We’ve lived in three separate places since we’ve been married. And each place has had unique lessons to teach and memories made within. Even now, as we struggle to see and plan for our future, we wonder if we might ever have a semblance of a home of our own. In those times, we are reminded: Home is a friendship made or a home-cooked meal. Home is a favorite song. Or the perfect dress. Or a mountain. Or a pointe shoe. Home can be a spiritual prompting or a scriptural verse or a prayer. Home is wherever we are together.
I’ve mentioned this before, but maybe this sense of longing for home is a celestial one. Maybe it’s an emptiness that will only be filled once we return home after this life. Our best efforts to fill this void creates an attachment to homes. But it’s never really about the house, but what that house represents, what that house holds inside it’s walls. It’s the stuff that had Dorothy clicking her heels three times…there’s no place like home.
Leading up to Christmas, Henry would often mention in conversation his sadness over his childhood home. One day it finally hit me: I knew what I would get him for Christmas. I would get him a painting of his childhood home! It would have to be perfect; something that when he looked at it, he could feel like he was there…like all his beautiful memories were preserved somehow, in one beautiful painting.
And then I found Tracie Grace’s work. She’s a freelance artist based out of Nashville. Her watercolor homes are what you’d imagine your home to look like in a dream. It’s your home as it’s meant to be, at it’s very best. I sent her, in secret, some very crude photos of his home (I think a Google earth image was even included) and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the finished product. It was perfect. It was his home, only better.
Christmas day came and Henry opened his present. Tears filled his eyes. “My home,” he said softly. “It’s my home.”