It is incredible what a physical space represents after heartache, after the memories tied to the favorite nooks, ruffled sheets, and storied rooms are defined by what happened there, and, more often than not, what didn’t happen there.
I turned 27 last November, and the first several months of this year have been raw. I suppose no one is ever prepared for their life to fall apart or for a house to suddenly be represented by empty beds, unshared dreams, unfulfilled promises, or hate thrown like confetti, but there it was, staring me in the face.
One more text dripping with blame. One more hasty email reply, twisting my words into mangled wrecks and assigning meaning never intended. One more demand for money. One more attack on my character. One more unfounded rumor in attempt to draw lines or justify. One more.
Surrendering is action. Surrendering to what you cannot control is the most powerful form of action. Quiet action. No amount of energy would allow my words, my desires, my promises to permeate the walls and be accepted for their intention when they fall on deaf ears and hollow hearts. There was no home left to build there.
Instead, I’ve been focused on realigning, rebuilding, and redefining. Realigning my heart fully in God, rebuilding (or, more accurately, establishing for the first time) my self confidence and sense of worth, and redefining “home.”
I heavily considered moving back to Chicago, to the life I willingly, but ultimately, resentfully, gave up to settle down in Grand Rapids. Chicago is an obvious choice: just 2.5 hours away from my hometown, a built in network of friends, amazing food and social scene, a strong foundation in a church I used to attend, and a city I already know how to navigate.
But Grand Rapids is home. I know I wouldn’t want to settle down in Chicago, and it would be yet another temporary move for me, a stepping stone to the life I want to be living now. Grand Rapids has my parents and almost all my extended family, a church I love desperately, a strong community and abundance of great friends, and a career I absolutely adore. The good stuff.
And just like that, on May 9th, my half birthday, my prayers for direction, for a sign of the next chapter of my life, and for a sense of home, were answered. A defining, can’t miss it moment, again staring me in the face.
I have big dreams for my home, in the physical space, the emotional attachment, and the intangible life moments that will happen here. There will be a wrap around porch meant for sipping bourbon basil lemonades, writing in my journal, porch swinging in the gentle summer breeze, and watching the neighborhood while overlooking the garden and yard games. The all white kitchen will be a labor of love, both in transforming it into my dream project, and the rich smells emanating through the open windows. Decadent blueberry crisp on the weekends, rich garlic and onion on weekday nights.
My neighborhood feels like a small Chicago. I can walk to all of my favorite spots in the city in any direction within 3 minutes: Maru, Marie Catrib’s, Brewery Vivant, and Green Well. Winchester, Elk Brewery, and Electric Cheetah. A 5-minute bike ride on my beach cruiser to Reeds Lake.
My home will reflect both style and story. Rustic charm with modern influence. Sumptuous. Inviting. Cozy. Classic. Fresh. More than that, safety, connection, rootedness, peace.
I’m creating a home built on a solid foundation, with better, stronger words. Promises carved into trees in the yard, soil made for staying. I’m defining home measured in weekend guests, full bellies, and storied walls. I want my home full of love, full of guests, and full of light.
One more glass of wine on the back deck. One more soak in the clawfoot tub. One more bowl of cherry tomatoes from the garden. One more walk around Heritage Hill. One more DIY project. One more dinner party. One more.
Most of all, I’m choosing new words for new walls, even if there are no ears waiting to hear them.
The door is open my friends, and I hope you’ll stop by if you’re in the neighborhood, without the need to call. All are welcome here, and dinner is at 7.