Few people know me as well as my house does.
It has offered me comfort from the outside, kept me safe from storms and has heard the unspeakable. My conversations, arguments, tears, laughter, triumphs and remorse have been laid bare within the walls of my home. It is my private place, my family place, my happy and sad place.
When it came time to leave my home, I was filled with anticipation of my new life. When the boxes were packed, the fixtures removed and the furniture loaded, it hit me. This place that has sheltered me from so much no longer belonged to me. It felt as though I had betrayed a friend.
My heart felt a genuine affection for the walls that encased me. I stood there alone in the middle of the room explaining why I had to leave, where I was going and thanked the house for keeping me safe and for holding my secrets. Crazy? Objects, places and things gain our affection as years go by. Hard to know how or when it happens, but it happens. And, I believe, we are the better for it.
I have seen a grown man cry upon selling his dad’s old car, an 88 year old woman who asked to be buried with her childhood doll, a young woman who still has her childhood teddy bear that has long lost its stuffing and a family that removed a piece of wood from their sold home that showed the heights of their children.
Memories are somehow tied to these things and they offer comfort; a reminder of times gone but not yet faded from our mind or erased from our hearts.
When we cling to something it’s usually out of fear or love. Perhaps we cling because we fear losing the memory or the love of the moment. We don’t.
Memories are made of such things as Christmas mornings, a graduation celebration, a sweet sixteen party, a new puppy, old friends, a first tooth, the birth of a child. They are also made of divorce, arguments, pain, fear, helplessness and death. Our home takes all that we give and wraps it around us in a warm blanket of truth, forgiveness and understanding. I respect that.
And so, I scurried and cleaned, mopped and vacuumed. I picked up the remnants that didn’t make the “take” list and I painstakingly washed fingerprints off the back door. I would leave this friend in a respectable state. It was the least I could do.
Whatever it is that you hold dear, I hope you respect the comfort it offers you. It has a rightful place in your life. We all have something. At least I hope so. Life without treasures seems a little fruitless.
These days my office is neatly strewn with many of my comforting memories; old Archie comics, an old pair of roller skates complete with a skate key, a tin Tom Thumb cash register, Gumby and Pokey figurines, a Radio Flyer red wagon and some old metal lunch boxes that were all the rage.
I was all the rage once and in my own little world, I still am.