Home

I’m going to write about the idea of Home for a spell, though this might not be possible now, because G is using a hammer (I think) to play his xylophone. It’s amazing the din a two-year-old can create. Okay. Pause. Must intervene…

We discovered robins building their nest in our garage, on top of the mechanical contraption that operates the garage door on the side we never use (a peculiarity of our property is a rather monstrous four car garage—four deep, not four wide—which is especially amusing since we only have one car). We can get rather lazy about closing the door we do use, so the robins had been waiting and building in increments. They wait in the redbud or the nearby fence until we pull out; then they head in.

Thankfully, they’re still in the building phase. No babies. So last night John did his best to gently untangle and dislodge their beautiful mess that was slowly becoming a beautiful nest. This morning I watched mama robin in the tree, twig in beak, waiting for John and Jonah to pull out of the garage and head to school. She still didn’t know her nest was gone. Eventually she found it perched between the gothic slats of our half-botched/still-not-finished fence. It was windy like Kansas here today, and every time the nest fell to the ground G would run over, pick it up, and proclaim “Ird! Nes! High!” [Translation: Put the nest back on the fence!]

Several times a year, for varying lengths of time, I mourn the physical distance between my family (that would include dear friends) and I. This usually coincides with a change in season or some other transition. Jonah comes by his resistance to change quite honestly. Last week spring came early and strong to Ohio. The magnolia, pear, and redbud trees bloomed. We mowed our lawn as the temperature hit 85 one day. My sister came to visit in the middle of that. Right after she left, the weather bottomed out and the temperature dropped 50 degrees. I haven’t been the same since.

When I get sad, I go inside. Being the kind of person I am, I carry my home inside. I used to spend time alone every morning doing the work of keeping up my house. I would read. I would write. I would stare out the window, which served to blow out the cobwebs in my brain. When Jonah came to us, and then Gabriel, it seemed my life turned inside out. But that is only seeming, because I still have that inside home. I complain a good bit about the lack of time I have for myself, but I’m getting a little tired of hearing myself grumble.

Of late, I’m coming to a new awareness of the effect of my person (and my own struggle to keep my house in order) on the ones closest to me. John. Gabriel. Jonah. We all must abide each others’ weaknesses, but there sometimes comes a point when something more must be done—for the sake of ourselves, for the sake of the ones we’re trying to love best. I can no longer count on solitude to maintain the delicate balance by which my interior life hinges. Its time will come back round, but I don’t have the luxury of years to wait it out.

So this is me, thinking about home. The way it moves and changes. The way it stays the same, and the way I must move and rearrange myself to meet it. It’s hard to change—to take a step in a direction other than the way I’ve always gone. Hard to consider others before myself, truly, not in theory or by a bright and hollow pronouncement. I must come to it the hard way, through my own failures and weakness. But there’s a kind of clarity in going through the darkness. Maybe this is part of what the Orthodox Church means when it speaks of the “bright sadness” of Lent. Seeing things true.

I hope the robins are building a new nest nearby, high up in safe branches, but I will do my best to keep the garage door closed. Sometimes we have to save each other from making the same poor choice twice, in order to find the way forward.

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