"The Art of Living," Oringinally posted Jun 29, 2014
My beloved dutch door was still there. As was the pegged floor in my bedroom, the view from the back window looking over at the house where my first friends used to yell out from the third story window. I could "feel myself" as I grasped the railing coming down to the kitchen and sat the on same stair as I had just after my terrifying nightmare on "long multiplication", hearing my father comfort me, telling me it would be alright.
I met myself again. I really didn't know it as I walked through my childhood home the other day. I was on my way to work, but realized there was an Open House at "my home" just past where I turn to go to the highway. As I came to the intersection, the thought came to me and I continued a short bit, pulled along the side of that same road, right next to the tree, bigger now, where I used to call my mother to come and cross me. Walking down the drive, it felt like the nearly forty years had never passed. Up the front steps with memories and thoughts assaulting my head. I rang the bell and no one came so I turned the handle and the door was open! It was an Open House, after all, so I invited myself inside. No one was there.
For the next ten minutes or so I had the house to myself, like so many times before. I soaked in everything as I wandered from room to room, over those well-trod floors. Into the living room where I danced with the music turned up loud, hung stockings and gazed out the bay windows dreaming of the world beyond. Into the dining room where so many birthdays were celebrated, my sweet sixteen, great times around the table with Daddy telling stories, spinning math problems to solve and Mother holding court, managing us all from her place at the head of the table, teaching us by example, always teaching us, although she didn't know it.
I could go on and on. It is amazing what power it all holds. I could (and did to the real estate agent when she came) describe every nook and cranny, why everything was there, things my father had built and ideas my mother had dreamed as they built their home, fresh and young, in their twenties with a long life in front of them. And as I left, I felt a powerful sense of peace, of calm, of returning to myself.
And so the day went on, I went to work and continued with the chores of the day. I wasn't even aware that the universe had shifted for me. I didn't know that something had been stirred in my soul, that a new day was dawning for me. As I drove home that night I was reflecting on being, once again, in my home and as I did, I felt a great anger spring up inside of me. It was like a fire, burning very hot and brightly, like those fires on the lawn when we burned the leaves. I could almost feel the flames and I can see them now in my mind. It was a "light-bulb" moment, but that sounds too trite to me now, a revelation (?), a profound realization forged in a searing way on my psyche. I felt like my true self was exposed, not in a negative way, but a freeing way. I felt the anger of having not lived that way every moment until that moment, but energized and free to live that way going forward. To really BE myself, that little girl that dreamed in my home, that young woman getting on the bus to "slay the dragons of NYC," that proud mother of three, and now, just me, just me. What a miracle.