There is a place in our house where the energy feels different to me. I noticed it when we first moved in 4 years ago. Our house was built in the 1950s and we are only the third family to ever live here. Shortly after we bought the house and moved in, the seller we had just purchased from wrote me a letter. It was handwritten, and very descriptive. It told the story of our house, about when it was built and the land it was chosen to be built on. It told the story of the man who built it and the family that he raised here. It told the story of how she herself had been invited to this house when the first family lived here, and when she walked through the front door she fell in love with the way she felt, and she dreamed of living here someday. She went on to tell the story of how the family’s breeze carried them in a different direction and the house went for sale, and she made it her mission to make it her own. She told me about small quirks to be on the lookout for, like how to twist the opening to the air filter cover just right in order to get it to stay closed. It was a very thoughtful letter, and it left me feeling lucky to be the newest memory-maker in this beautifully crafted house that I am so happy to call my home.
The letter mentioned the family names of the builder and former owner of our house, and as luck would have it, about a year after we moved in, the strangest thing occurred. I was managing an apartment community in Greensboro at the time, and one afternoon a file landed on my desk. It was a new lease to be signed for a new person moving into the community. While flipping through the file, I noticed a name. It was the name of the person who grew up in my house. What are the odds that someone who grew up in the same house we had recently moved into, would be moving into the community I managed?! My immediate thought was to reach out, and to let this person know who I was. I sent him a very short email, introducing myself as Community Manager to Lincoln Green and adding a P.S. line to say that my family had recently purchased the house he grew up in, and sorry to seem like a stalker but I just had to let him know of the connection! He replied to my email almost immediately and we both looked forward to his move in day so we could meet face-to-face.
Our first meeting was full of conversation about his time in the house. Turns out, he spent his childhood and teenage years here. While moving in, we found a tiny Olan Mills picture of a family of three that was clearly taken in the 1970s. I told him about finding this picture and without even seeing it, he confirmed that the kid in the picture was him. I asked him about the stained glass stepping stones in the back yard and he told me where he buried the pets of his past. I asked him what memories he had of the cool nooks and crannies I had already discovered in the top of the closets and what he remembered about the attic.
One afternoon shortly after he moved into the apartment, he came into the office to pay his rent. I was returning from lunch and we crossed paths in front of the clubhouse. I smiled, said hello and as I was about to walk into my office, I turned around and went back outside. “Don!” I called for him as he walked to his car. “I have a super-weird question for you.” He grinned and walked toward me. “Did anyone ever die in this house?” I asked.
He looked at me, gave a slight head nod and replied, “Yes, actually. My grandmother died in that house.” I got chills. Not a scary kind of chills, but I felt validated in a way that I didn’t know I longed for. I went on to ask what room was hers, and where she died. As it turns out, the very same place in our house that has always felt different to me is where she took her last breath. He went on to tell me that she died peacefully, and it then made so much sense to me.
I’ve never felt afraid in this room. In fact, this room was Sadler’s bedroom when we first moved in. Now, it is Everly’s bedroom. And while I knew there was something very different that I would feel when I walked into this particular room, it was never a negative feeling. But, it’s a strong feeling. One that I feel mostly when in one particular corner of the room.
Once Everly was born, things began to change for me. Because Sadler was breech, she was delivered via cesarean in 2012. Everly was delivered vaginally, and I am 100% convinced that her arrival earthside opened me spiritually. The short 15-months since Everly’s birth have been the most momentous, wild-flowing and riveting months of my entire life. I’ve found God carrying out glory and promise in my life at every turn. I’ve made some of the biggest, boldest, most fearless moves ever I could have ever dreamt, and I know the best is only yet to come.
This corner of Everly’s bedroom has become my sanctuary. Without fail, every time I sit in this chair to rock her before nap or bedtime, the tears flow like rain down my cheeks. This is where I pray. This spot is where God moves me. This is where I hear Him, and my heart opens to speak to Him. This spot is where I take my deepest breaths, and where I feel the safest. This spot is one where I hold my child and feel connected with her more so than when I am in other places. This spot is special to me.
Our neighbor commented to me today that our house has never seen so much happiness. She would know, she has lived here for almost two decades. It made me feel good to know that our family has brought renewed life to this beautiful house. Regardless of what lives may have ended here, the life we are creating here and the joy that is being cultivated here will hopefully create a legacy to be told to future families that live here. Maybe I will write a letter, too.