Keys without houses

They say you can’t go home again.  I know that’s true.

I can’t go home to that yellow house in Whispering Firs.  I can’t go home to that townhouse in Troutdale with the purple front door and the perennial garden in the back yard.   I can’t go home to that Cape Cod on ten acres in northern Michigan where the elk congregated behind the house.  I can’t go home to the house on the circle where my kids had snowball fights on those rare snow days in Washington.

I do probably have a house key for each of those homes.  Plus a few cars I used to own.  I can’t get rid of old keys.

It’s a quirk I have.

But I can’t go home to the past.  Those homes don’t really exist except in my  mind and heart.

My kids can’t go home either and that kind of breaks my heart.  They don’t know it now, really.  I know they think if we’d just get in the van and drive north on I-5 that we could just go home.  But home is gone.  Home is here now.

So I’m waiting for this house to feel like home.  My friend, Diane, once told me it takes five years to feel truly at home in a new place.  I’m trying to be patient.

Right now I feel detached.  I love my new house but we have some empty walls  and unpacked boxes and a dearth of memories here.

(To complicate matters, I find that I’m trying to let go of people who have already so easily let go of me.)

Life is a forward journey . . . so I’m trying to look forward and to stop looking over my shoulder to catch a glimpse of what I’ve left behind.

But it’s hard and sad sometimes.  I’m often too aware of what’s disappearing in the rear view mirror rather than grateful for what’s around the corner.  And I will never, ever get used to the absence of people who are no longer in my life.

Especially the people who never said good-bye for one reason or another.

Last week marked the twenty-second anniversary of my dad’s death.  I’ve lived almost longer without a dad than I lived with one.  I’m very nearly the age he was when he died.

I’m sad.   (But okay.)


6 thoughts on “Keys without houses

  1. it is sad and that is okay. as we age isn’t it harder to let go of the things we feel comfortable with? staying connect with friends from other area’s of my life is hard…but oh the beautiful fun memories we have to look back on.
    praying for God to provide you with comfort and peace and to renew the joy of having been able to see the people and places he gave you.


  2. Yes, it is okay. It’s a season. Life is full of seasons and some are nicer to go through than others, but the seasons come and go. The older I get the more I want to learn to embrace them all. Even the hard ones. I’ve been a “transplant” everywhere I’ve lived for the past almost twenty years, but as you say, it’s okay. My home is really in Heaven. Some places feel more like home than others for now, but nowhere is permanently home until we’re Home, ya know? That’s the thought that helps me through the hard days of home sickness or the longing for familiarity, or whatever it is!


  3. I’m sorry for your sadness. Would it help if you knew I am sad, too?

    I, too, have had homes, but have none to go back to. My mind hashes over things and events all night long, it seems. I awaken from my tossing and turning, and am tired. And sad. And I cry.

    There is a lack of unity in my extended family, and that saddens me a lot. So many problems for so many to deal with. Sad, indeed.

    And so, when I see beautiful white billowy clouds, I ask myself: is this it? Jesus promised when he went away, that He would so come back – and that will be to take us, His kids, Home – to that Home eternal – the one where there will be no more tears, no more sadness.

    So cheer up, dear – this is not our Home. But I have all my old keys, too!


  4. 5 years?!? That’s just too long! It’s only been not-quite-2-months for me and already I’m impatient to feel like I belong here, like I’ve settled in, to not feel like the outsider. I’ve also been missing our last place like crazy lately which doesn’t help.

    I met someone here who has moved alot and she told me 6 months to a year. Let’s listen to that person, instead of the five years person. Okay?

    Hope you (we) feel better soon.


  5. My cousin told me three year to make a new house a home.
    We’ve been in this one six and a half, and I don’t think I’ll realize it’s home until we’re moving, just like the last one, where we were seven years.
    Home is partly a time, as well as a place. It’s the sixties or the seventies, when the world had roots. Now it floats.

    Have you read C.S. Lewis’ Perelandra? There is solid land, but people spend most of their time on floating islands. He developed this feeling after his mother passed away, I think.


  6. I found the key to our old house (we moved in January, after six years at the same place) and I remembered things there that I miss…glass doorknobs, the phone nook in the hallway, all the beautiful crown molding, and yes, the memories of raising my daughter from not-quite-three-years-old to nine.

    So many empty walls now, and empty memories. It will take some time to adjust, I think.


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