Last fall, Joe asked me what I wanted for my sixtieth birthday. “A house, ” I replied without hesitation.
My desire for home ownership has been a burning fire throughout our marriage, satisfied for the first time in 2015 when we purchased a home in Greene County, about 30 minutes from where Joe grew up, and about 15 minutes from where our children attended public school.
At the time, I was working 25 minutes south of this house in Charlottesville. Joe was working 25 minutes north at the boarding school. We split time between our new home and the home the school provided, shortening my commute and giving Joe a place to get away.
Not only was the location perfect, the two of us were so fortunate to receive the top things on our wish lists.
- No more than 10 minutes from a coffee shop. Having resided for nearly 20 years in a rural area with few amenities, accessibility to restaurants was a high priority. Starbucks was exactly 10 minutes away near Target.
My list was longer:
- A walkable neighborhood
- No more than 10 minutes from Target. Check. Check and check. Having lived proximate to students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and other random visitors at the boarding school, I needed more seclusion. We had a neighbor on one side, but otherwise, we were surrounded by trees, including across the street. We also had the added bonus of an empty lot adjacent to our yard. It was heaven.
We made incredible memories at what came to be known in our family as “The Ridge” and “Southridge,” nicknamed after the street and subdivision. It was especially useful during the pandemic. With public spaces shut down, our children and grandchildren spent a lot of time in our yard and garage. It was heaven.
In the fall of 2021, we sold Southridge and began our separate lives in Charlottesville, each of us renting alone. Owning a home again was consistently on my mind. Like so many people, I binge on HGTV shows like House Hunters and Love it or List it. I saw Joe and me in those couples, longing for a place to call home. And deep down, I know this desire for my own home wasn’t vain or materialistic. There’s something heavenly about it. The following example strikes me in this regard:
John 14.1-2 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?”
This imagery was powerfully present two weeks before my father died. Far from a religious man, he had a dream the night he made the difficult decision not to continue dialysis. “I had a dream I was at the Kennedy house. And I was being loved in a way I didn’t deserve.” We all concluded this dream was God’s way of welcoming him to a home so grand, the only way he could describe it was to reference a wealthy American family.
Home is indeed a heavenly thing. And after spending 22 years as a full-time homemaker, investing my heart, soul, mind and body into raising my children and being a supportive wife, a home for me felt like both a reward and a necessity.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the goal of our healing separation was to, well, heal and eventually reunite. After many hours of therapy together and individually, this will come to fruition fully once we move into our new home in Richmond in June.
And yes, as circumstances would have it, we were able to set the closing date for my birthday. Happy birthday to me. And thanks be to God.
Part of this post is missing 😢
Sorry Noel. I accidentally published it before it was finished. It is complete now. Thanks for reading!