Posted by: karanoel | November 16, 2010

A house to live in

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24:3-4

My sister, Karen, and her husband, Gino, put an offer in on a house last week. It was accepted and they are thrilled. Of course there are inspections and other things that still have to happen, but it is looking good. The house is all the way in Maryland, but I am extremely happy for them anyway. Especially because they have an active daughter and another on the way, and a dog that gets depressed if she doesn’t have room to romp. And maybe even more so because they have been on a long journey to get where they are and it is always nice to settle after a long journey.

This got me wondering about myself. I have never wanted to buy a house. Ever. Not that I wouldn’t like to live in a nice neighborhood, maybe even in a house with a  pool and a nice place to sit outside. But the thought of buying something feels weighty and restrictive. Maybe that’s why I like my tortoises so much. They have a sense of permanence without restriction.

This reaction may have something to do with the fact that we moved dozens of times when I was a kid, and buying and selling houses seemed to be a driving factor in that process. Moving was hard and a hassle. It made it difficult to grow roots or emotionally settle in any given place. It also made it easy to avoid problems, and created a rhythm of newness and change. If I am at all adaptable, this may be why.

But it can’t all be due to my upbringing. Two of my siblings have jumped into the settled life of home purchases, and the other will probably do the same the moment he is able. Which, again, makes me wonder about myself.

My mom has always called me a free spirit, but I’m starting to wonder it that just means I am allergic to any kind of meaningful commitment. I love wide open spaces in my physical and emotional world, and hate the idea of being pinned down. The thought of having the same job for any number of years squashes my brain against my skull like one of those spinny rides at a carnival. And being bogged down by duty sucks the life out of me like a hungry pig at a teat. I would have made a terrible queen.

I have made progress though. We have lived in this house for several years, and I’m happy about that. It has been an extraordinary pleasure to build relationships rather than start up new ones every year or two. I worked at my last job for nearly four years, which was a huge milestone, and I only left because I was laid off, so that doesn’t even really count.

I also have to pat myself on the back for having been a mom for 15 years. This role has played an enormous part in reigning in all my crazy temptations and teaching me to be still. I am coming to love that stillness. It is so good. But not stillness in a home with a my name on the mortgage. Which is also good for now, since I don’t exactly have wads of cash laying around looking for a permanent residence.

p.s. I just found that verse on the top and think it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. It makes me want to change my whole post. But I have to go pick Cole up at Disneyland so you’ll just have to wait for whatever deep and meaningful thing I would have said.


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