Change of Address

From the moment selling my house became a call to action and less a tumble of ideas, it dominated my thoughts. I looked at each room with a critical eye for any imperfections a potential buyer might fault. Within six weeks, the less-than-desirable elements were cleaned, painted, repaired or polished. The house sold very fast.

But as I signed the contract, I suddenly shifted from being an objective project manager who had successfully presented a house to the public to the woman who spent the last twenty-three years trying to make her home a warm and restful place for her family. I felt like a loser in the house deal, and it had nothing to do with money. For weeks, I carried feelings of loss and sadness even when being congratulated for selling so fast “in this market.”

This weekend I saw pictures and reports of the aftermath of the tornadoes that pummeled the landscape from Oklahoma to Minnesota. Very few lives were lost but property damage was massive and widespread. Some homes had roofs torn off or facades sheared off which left it looking like the back of a child’s dollhouse. Other homes were splintered and shattered. Still others were totally removed from their foundations.

Survivors faced the remnants of their homes in shock and disbelief. I saw deep sorrow in the face of a woman who stood before her destroyed home. I heard pain in the words of those who spoke to reporters. I remembered those people in my prayers that day, and realized what a long ordeal they had ahead of them…an ordeal that I probably could never fully imagine.

These people made me realize what it was to really lose your home. They had nothing – no walls, no roof, no furniture. In a matter of minutes they had lost the place they called home. Suddenly, I felt guilty for whining about “losing my home.” I was not losing it, I was selling it. I was getting paid for it. I was passing it one to another family.

In the next few weeks, as I clear out cupboards and closet, I promise to pause and say a prayer again for a woman I don’t know. She lives somewhere the tornado touched and she has had to pick through chunks of drywall, broken glass and layers of a twisted house to look for her wedding album, her children’s baby pictures, her grandmother’s platter, her mother’s teapot. None of those things were wrapped, boxed or protected like mine will be. They were just sucked up by the wind and carried to the four corners of another county. I imagine that whatever she found in the ruins, she will treasure for a long time. I imagine she feels blessed to have survived that experience with her family. I will thank her for reminding me that it is the family who make a home, not the four walls that surround them.

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One Response to Change of Address

  1. marie Wikle says:

    thank you for this post. I’ve been watching too and praying for those that I see on tv.

    we are so blessed to have homes that extend beyond the walls that surround them.

    thank you!


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