Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Saran Wrapped

If a person could caress a house that is what I would do. Wrap my arms wide around the whole house and caress it. Thank it for being such a healing haven. Thank it for the journey.

I just came back from saying a final goodbye to the house we lived in for the past 5 years. Tomorrow is the possession date for the new owners and I wanted one last chance to go and say goodbye. I feel a profound sadness. I am having a hard time wrapping myself around the reality that this is home now and that place isn't. I think about my son, when he was three years old, after we had moved 750 miles across the land...he used to sit on the front steps of the new place and tell me it would be okay if only we had brought the old house with us. Sixteen years later I understand that. Finally have allowed my feelings to surface long enough so that I can say, "I feel that way too,son."

I start to tell myself all the 'grateful' things I should be focussing on instead and this time I just can't follow through. I have done that so many times in a row that I've lost count. Shoved all the real feelings down in order to make life more manageable for me and those around me. I won't do it anymore. Not that I will never be grateful for the miracle that this new place is, but I know I need the freedom to feel the pain filled thoughts first. I need to let them be until I can let go of them in due time - instead of prematurely like so many times before. Funny (not really) how the Bible is so full of the whole range of human emotions and somehow I think to be a good example of what it means to follow Christ that I have to distance myself from those feelings I classify as 'bad.'

I've so rarely given myself permission to let my feelings just be. I need to do this before I can think on the gratitude. For the pain is real. It makes me wonder if gratitude - real gratitude -is a much scarcer commodity than people make it out to be. And I COULD write you out a list of things I am grateful for but I haven't learned yet how to feel both the pain and gratitude without feeling like a fraud.

My daughter told me last night that living this journey is really simple and really hard. All she needs to do is be honest and honesty is the hardest thing to do. That the journey isn't about rules and regulations. It isn't about measuring up or looking good. It's about being honest.

I walked around the house and thought about why it is so hard to let go. I thought about people and how no matter how much 'better' the new place might be it's the emotional ties to what was that make a person feel like they have saran wrapped themselves to the very house itself. Trying to unwrap that stuff can look like a real mess.

My daughter is right. It's not easy to be honest. Not about this kind of stuff anyway. I just mistyped the word 'way' as 'wary' and smiled as I realize, "Yes, wary. That is how it feels to be honest sometimes. This time." As I type all I can hear echoing in my brain are platitudes about gratitude. It makes me feel ungrateful because I am being honest.

I can feel those around me tensing up because I am feeling the pain. I realize today that I need to step back and let them own their feelings. How often have I stuffed my pain so that - on the surface - life looks normal. People heave a sigh of relief when I do. I can easily think it is my job to make it so. But it's not. It's my job to be honest.

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