Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

At this point in my life, I've already called quite a few different places home. I never would've guessed that my path would venture back East! In fact, as a youngster I vowed never to leave the great state of Utah. In high school, I filled out a questionnaire for one of my classes about my future. I recently came across that long-forgotten sheet of paper. Among other things it asked if I could see myself living out-of-state. I replied: Never. It also asked where I wanted to settle. I replied: Bountiful, Utah.
Funny, I know. But my aunt lives there and it seemed really nice! (As an interesting side note--Greg and I lived in Bountiful for one year while he completed his intern year at LDS Hospital. Check that dream off the old bucket list! Been there, done that! And I really DID enjoy Bountiful.) How sad it would have been to miss out on all of the adventures I've had living in different, far-off places! I'm so glad to finally call Utah home again, but I absolutely treasure the experiences I've had in so many different places called home. I recently heard a quote that said something like this, If we turn our life over to our Saviour, it's not that we lose our own life or our own individuality, it's just that He makes our life into something so much better than we could make it on our own. I'm sure I didn't say it as well as the actual quote, but I love that thought. Thank heavens that I'm not in charge of my own life! My short-sighted plans will never be as good as what my Father in Heaven, with eternity in mind, has planned for me.

One thing that has always kept me going is the saying, "Bloom where you are planted!" I believe so much in that saying. For me, I didn't get to choose the cities we lived in. We relied on acceptances and medical matches to dictate our moves. But even in seemingly undesirable locations, if we really tried hard, we would bloom and find lots and lots of happiness. That is true not just for homes and cities, but also for circumstances and situations as well. We just need to do our very best to bloom where we have been planted....

Years ago, when we were planning for our move back East for Greg's residency, I did most of my house shopping on the internet. I was very, very excited to be shopping for our first house! No more apartments without heat, or neighbors who smoked, or upstairs/downstairs neighbors at all! The house buying process didn't exactly turn out like I had planned, but then I'm not exactly in charge of things either, right?

Here are my thoughts about buying and owning our first home. I wrote this a few years ago...in lovely Pennsylvania.

There’s this house. It’s a 1950’s red brick bungalow on a corner lot with a darling little walkway in front. From the first moment its picture loaded slowly onto my computer screen, I knew that I could really love, and I mean really love, this house on Bloom Road. It was one of those moments when you just gasp and shiver at the little tingles running up your back—I couldn’t believe that I had found my first house. Rich, old hardwood floors swept through every room, filling it with character and charm. The bench seat under an over-sized window, the greenery lining the walk, even the freshly-painted red garage near the back of the lot seemed to be calling out to me. I anxiously booked my cross-country flight for a few weeks away, hoping against hope that the house would still be sitting there waiting for me. Multiple conversations with the owner gave me the assurance that this was my place. I couldn’t wait to lovingly tend to the rhododendrons near the house or to carefully mow along the Hosta plants lining the path. I was in love with a house!

To my utter disappointment, the house sold the very next weekend. A few months later, and with sadness in my heart, we moved into a modest home on South Crestwood Drive. In my opinion, it had absolutely no charm.

The main street in our town runs right in front of the red brick house on Bloom Road. The entrance to the hospital where Greg works is only a few blocks beyond that cute little front walk. My errands take me in that direction almost daily. I am finally able to pass without feeling the familiar ache of longing. In fact today as I let my eyes scan the details of the front yard for the thousandth time, I noticed the foliage seemed a bit over grown. The grass was due for a mowing and more than one weed was poking its head through the hosta plants. Maybe I was looking at it through the lens of time, but it suddenly didn’t feel like it should have been my home anymore.

Today, I slowed as I turned the corner onto South Crestwood Drive. I felt the familiar dip as my van rolled onto our slightly sunken, worn-out driveway. My little house seemed to be opening its old arms wide to welcome me home. Gosh, I started to think, Greg and I have put so much love into this house and yard. It has definitely won over my heart. With every step from the van to the front door, I passed something that our hands had touched: the blooming flowers I planted with my girls; the sidewalk which Greg carefully reclaimed from the grass; the multi-paned front windows we painstakingly painted; the new curtains swaying in the window--which I picked out and Greg bravely hung; and the fresh new planter box just beyond the front steps we killed ourselves to build. I sighed with a sense of satisfaction. Stepping into the house, I planted my feet squarely on the new wood flooring in our entry. The new carpet still looks fresh, too, I thought. Then, I checked my hair in the large mirror I found on clearance at Home Depot. I still think it looks fantastic hanging in the middle of our red wall. I am so glad I convinced Greg to let me paint it red. It matches my favorite chair perfectly.

Jane, my backdoor neighbor, asked me rather facetiously the other day if I wanted to trade houses. Her children are all grown and it is a bit big for just the two of them. She proudly toured me through a very nice and spacious home twice the size of ours. It even has a garage! I laughed it off and told her that Greg and I could never afford that kind of home. She quickly said, “Oh, yes you could! I’d give it to you!” I’m sure she was merely dreaming about cleaning something smaller.

I walked home a bit slower that evening pondering her proposition. I could see Greg and the kids playing in our screened-in porch. I passed the playhouse with the swings swaying idly to and fro in the breeze. I brushed my hand against the old fireplace where we roast our marshmallows. A bit further on, I caught a glimpse of my Mother’s Day Garden. Greg worked so hard to build that for me. The plants are thriving and a few are already bearing fruit (and vegetables, I should say). The kids are so excited about the garden. We love it. I noticed my hanging pots on the back of the house were really getting full of color. For some strange reason, I couldn’t find one good reason to trade Jane. I just knew that I would sit and look longingly out the windows at my little old house and my old backyard. It seemed like the backdoor creaked extra loudly that night as I joined my family on the porch. A cool breeze was just starting to blow through. Greg pulled me onto his lap and asked me what Jane had wanted. The kids were laughing and playing together on the floor. I caught a whiff of freshly-mowed grass on a summer’s night. I just leaned back on Greg. I felt more content than I have ever felt. “So, what did she want?” Greg asked again.

“Oh, nothing,” I responded, “nothing at all.”

The day we said good-bye to our happy Pennsylvania Home...2009.

I love my little house. But if I have learned anything, it is that love grows with careful attention and effort. Perhaps it is the same with people as with houses.

With careful attention and effort, may we all bloom in whatever city, house, marriage or situation we have been planted in.
Love, Rindi


Anonymous said...

Rindi, You need to quit writing tear jerkers. I am so glad that I got to know that cute little house. It was perfect for your little family and I loved it too. Ah, the memories!. Love, Mom

Eardley Family said...

I am crying!! I will bloom where I am planted!


PS You are an amazing writer!

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