From where I sit in our new living room back in Ashland, my Christmas tree’s lights reflect off of five surfaces. Every night after I put my kids to bed in their new bedrooms, I settle under a white afghan, my 12 pound pup snuggles in next to me on the couch, and I take in this space again.
They say where there is love, there is home, and I believe that’s true. So to say with any greater emphasis that this house, this space right here, feels right, feels just like home, well, it seems to put so much weight on a place.
There’s no place like this house I don’t think, and it’s fun to laugh about the weird and wonderful quirks of our sprawling mid-century modern filled with many future renovation projects.
But it’s still just a house. So what’s the big deal? Why even get all worked up enough every night to mumble happily, “I love this house”? It’s still just a house.
The other night when I sat down after putting the kids to bed, I looked up and caught the Christmas tree and the front door in my line of sight. The door swung open and my grown children poured in with a herd of grandchildren sprinting ahead of them. They squealed and tripped down the stone steps to the living room to inspect the presents under the tree. Their parents warned them not to run and then they ran to the basement to play with their parents’ leftover Legos and beat up billiard balls. I joined my grown children in the kitchen to reminisce about Christmases past, memories past, present-day stress and future hopes.
That’s when I knew what the something more is that’s happening here. Every single step and turn earlier in our marriage came with a what if packaged with a what next. When this is over, we would say, we’ll do something different, go somewhere else, lift up roots and transplant again into new soil or just rest awhile til we discern the next destination. And then off we went again.
There’ve been darker moments when the what if and what next was scarier, when the what if was driven by fear and separation instead of love. When the braid we had woven together seemed to be coming undone.
And then there’ve been long seasons of waiting and walking together, regaining trust, rebuilding hope.
So when we looked at potential homes this fall, there was no what if. There was no what next. There was only this.
This is where we want to be. Together. This is where we want our kids to grow up and where we want them to return after they’ve gone. This is where we want to spend our afternoons walking the dog, worshipping on Sunday mornings, shopping on Saturday afternoons, working throughout the week. This is where we want our roots to run deep.
It could have been any house in any town. Because it isn’t the wood panelling, the square footage, or the location. It’s being certain of what we hope for. It’s being certain.
I have been waiting for that foundation to return without knowing it. This returning to Ashland is many things but what it marks in my heart is a firm renewal that we’re here, together – this marriage – this love – this family – this world we’re building together. This is what I have been waiting for, this. This hope. This steady rise, this cup overflowing, this contentment, this open space, this peace, this faith, this rest, this firm ground.
And it’s here now. It’s here. Right here.