On Moving and Writing and Coming Home
Two years ago (has it been that long already?!?) my daughters and I moved from our house of 13 years to a condo. Months of preparing. Months of work. Days of hard labor that felt more like years. Hardly a simple process. It pushed all three of us to our limits and still required more. Various states of disarray. Boxes. Everywhere. At first, flat and hidden, then tripping hazards, then assembled. Next — painfully and endlessly — filled, taped shut, and stacked to the ceiling. And into them, so many memories, so much of the past, and every bit of the future — yet unspoken, but imagined, anticipated, and hoped-for.
Questions swirled. What memories will yet be created in this new space? With whom will I have conversation? Over what will I laugh and cry, celebrate and grieve? What relationships will form? Which ones will end? What will I know and experience? What will I write?
Writing. Oh, that.
Every day — for days on end — were so packed, so full, so exhausting that writing felt like a distant memory; something I used to know and do, but couldn’t quite place. It was overcome by details, by movers, by conversations with my daughters about leaving the only home they really remember, by more trips to Target than I cared to count, by “yes, let’s just order pizza…again,” by a wonky internet connection, by cables and cords, by muscles so sore that all I could do is fall into bed and barely get back out of it the next morning. There was no writing.
It strikes me that it hardly takes a move for this to be my reality. I’ve struggled with it lately — not feeling at home. And because, frankly, it’s way easier to not write. The similarities to moving abound: hardly a simple process, pushing me to my limits, still requiring more…
Writing calls forth my willingness to allow various states of disarray. Writing requires that I box up what no longer works and take it to the dump. Writing challenges me to make space, to start fresh, to invite beauty. Writing compels me to sort through stories, ideas, and words that ask to be unpacked, honored, and given their proper place. Writing is, in and of itself, hospitality: providing food, shelter, and rest for all that longs to be let in, welcomed, and hosted. Writing is home. And creating home takes work.
It’s no wonder that I felt displaced. I didn’t want to do that work. To unpack the boxes that were piled ceiling-high in the attics and basements of my own mind and heart. To do the work of unwrapping everything protected. To not know if once unpacked, unwrapped, and exposed anything of value will be worth staying in and with.
In order to write, to create, to be “at home” I have to be willing to move.
This is what I’m musing about even this morning — now two years into this home, two years at this desk, two years looking out this window. Moving. Freeing all that’s been boxed to decorate and dance and inspire at will. Pulling up deeply entrenched roots and putting down others. Letting old stories be reimagined in new spaces and new ways; making room for those that are yet to be told (and lived). Welcoming my truest self, my very soul with hospitality. Coming home.
May it be so.