And the next was this::
Distractions, road blocks, reminders, boundaries... We lived a life full of these things, and woke up in a house that belonged to the people we thought we were. We were surrounded by the past, a material presence of voices that shouldn't matter, with words that cut like knives. Dark, heavy, and binding...
We lived a hand-me-down life. You know - the kind where you're uncomfortable, always knowing that it doesn't fit and belongs on someone else. There were too many stains, too many mismatched pieces, too many holes. Something had to be done...
It was March. The first time I'd been back to my home since February 7th - the day my dad had a heart attack, the day the girls packed a bag full of dress-up clothes and we drove like mad to say goodbye. The day of the unravelling. Coming back into this house, it was suffocating. I had spent 32 days sleeping in a chair in the hospital, next to a man who was given a 2nd chance at life and still made the same painful choices. It changed things. I couldn't breathe here. There were boxes and bins full of treasures based on lies, a collection of disappointments and failures... They were things that didn't matter anymore. Things that never should have mattered in the first place. I went to sleep that night next to a man who hadn't given up on me ... not yet, anyway. And woke up to sunshine polka dots on the walls. But just coming from the darkness, there weren't enough... I was hungry for light, but the dark furniture was blocking most of the wall space in my room. Dresser, chest, headboard - heavy, looming, and in the way. It was trivial, you say, but it set me in motion... I had lived this last month on just one pair of jeans, a couple of shirts, a jacket and some necessities. I never expected to be gone for 32 days. And yet I had done just fine - with nothing in my bag. So I started with the drawers... Soon, they were empty. The closet was next. I packed up "one day, I might be that tiny again", "It was too cheap not to pass up", "Someday I'll find something to go with it", and all the other things I had kept out of guilt. I was starting something big... something that was going to drive me right out of this parallel life into the one I knew I should be living. With each new pile, with each newly filled garbage bag - I kept remembering this verse (Phillipians 4:19) ... "My God will supply all my needs..." Even this.
I took loads to Goodwill and listed the bedroom set on Craigslist. By the time I made the next return trip from TN, it was sold. Gone was the darkness. Gone were the memory ghosts that whispered the stories of disappointment and failures. Instead, I woke up to a room full of light, a show of sunshine polka dots covering all 4 of the blank white walls. Our mattress was on the floor and the room had never been more beautiful. It was the best night's sleep I'd had in months.
In the months that followed, between the back and forth, the living in 2 separate states - I took out the cello, gave it a quick tune, and played along - to this song (above), and finally felt awake. I played in the room with white walls - where the sunshine makes polka dots, and the mattress is on the floor. It made the here worthwhile. It made the there more bearable. And it was like I had never put it down and let the melody disappear. It was like magic. It was my voice, and it felt good. There - our helper life in TN - the blonde haired beauties and I slept together in a full size bed in the darkest dark. We bridged the in-between, we watched the pacing steps of a man learning to walk again, and we made meals for too many people under the same roof. Here - in our home - it was like a holiday. We played music - and danced. We gobbled it all up - for the knot of life that was our there. I wanted to bottle it all up - the light, the music, and the dancing. It was still just so new - I was afraid it would get lost if I looked away - or stayed away - for too long.
I became a hurricane, a tornado - ripping apart our life, our home. I was on a quest - to remove the excess. A quest for more light, more music, more us, more ... room. James stood by me - in the most honorable, loving, romantic way. He hauled off loads and boxes, took mountains to the flea market, and patiently waited for the surge to be over - trusting my faith and my crazy ideas. Before long, our little house was released of the things that haunted me, the things that were holding us back, and the shame that went with them. It was beautiful, the transformation. We had traded the outgrown for the perfect fit. Our house became OUR home... light, white, bright. And the things that remained were so full of joy and significance... Husband-made furniture, wife-made photographs, and daughter-found treasures collected on our adventures. There was an emptiness - but in the way that you rush into the sunshine and the big wide open to breathe after coming out of a flourescent lit building with no windows. It radiated with the kind of light that glows after a good summer storm. The kind that makes you smile and sets your mind to work... without distraction. Without boundaries. Without restrictions. The kind that lets you notice things you were too busy to see before. The kind that makes room... for blessings.
It was on a day much like today, that I noticed the next shift... the cherry blossoms out back had bloomed, and the high pitched squeal of the table saw was singing along to Zoe Keating's - Into the Trees. I opened the garage door to a man - busy with ideas. Busy creating something from nothing. Busy speaking with a voice all his own. He smelled of warm cedar and I couldn't love him more. He was happy. Truly happy. I knew that our path was significantly altered in that very moment. I was humbled by a love so deep, and all the different languages he used to say how much. For if the sound of my heart was the strings of a cello, his was most definitely the sound of wood becoming something it was always meant to be. He had filled our little home with whatever we needed... beds for the girls, a desk for me, a file box for storage, a bench, a lamp, the list goes on... Before we knew it, husband-made things became part of who we are, and the path we felt led to follow. He has a heart for creating and hands for building. It's what he does... and we almost missed it.
Today I am so very thankful for the darkness, those difficult days that felt never-ending, the shift in truth, and the heartache...
For if we hadn't been so devastated, the uncomfortable hand-me-down life would have continued.
And if we had never began the ripping and the tearing, we never would've never gotten to the bottom of the excess, and found the things that truly mattered.
By collecting just the things that mattered, we finally were able to find the perfect fit - and a new beginning. A brand new language - all our own.
Here's a little peek at his latest project. It's available now - because we're too excited to wait for the online shoppe to open. We'd love to tell you more about it. Contact us for more information.