Today I said goodbye to the home where I did a lot of growing up. My folks are moving house this week. Mum and Dad built this home in the late 90s when I was in high school, and we moved in when I was in Year 11.
We made lots of happy memories there – 18ths, 21sts, engagement parties, the home I left when I got married, Dad helping us learn to drive by reversing up and down the battleaxe driveway, ‘studying’ for uni exams by the pool and many family Christmases.
I can remember moving there – excited about the new place but really sentimental about leaving behind the only home I’d ever known. I even wrote a message inside my bedroom wardrobe.
Now, having moved my own home several times since getting married, saying goodbye today felt odd, but I didn’t feel the same attachment to the place. Over the years I’ve learned that home is about the people rather than the house itself. Home is where your family is. The new place (which i might add, is just around the corner from the old one) will still be the family home – just a different one.
A year ago we moved to a two bedroom apartment with our friends Joel and Rachel. We didn’t make the decision lightly. We prayed about the opportunity and sensed God’s leading, so we took a step of faith and moved out of the only place we’d called home together.
I’d never lived with anyone other than my family and Adam. So, like most married couples do, we learned many times over that ‘normal’ isn’t quite so normal after all.
Going into sharing with friends, I prepared to learn this all over again. We felt taking this risk was right and we trusted God would sustain us, but in truth I had many expectations and concerns. I like things to be done a certain way. I agonised over questions like:
How would I deal with other people’s mess?
Would we fight in front of our friends?
Would I be a ‘bad’ housemate? (I was really anxious that I would spend too long in the bathroom!)
How would we share the kitchen space, the cooking, the couch?
How would our relationship change?
We found out a week ago that our friends are moving to Melbourne for work, so our time of sharing is fast coming to an end. God has blessed us with the provision of a new place in a short space of time, but that’s another story.
As the sun sets on this chapter of our lives, I’ve been reflecting on the year that has been.
Sharing has been a year-long lesson in adaptation. For someone who doesn’t like sudden changes of plans and really likes things to be ‘just so,’ this has been beneficial. For example, while I was overseas, Adam and Joel had placed our microwave in the cupboard to save bench space. I thought it bizarre at first, but it’s still there, and who knows, maybe the microwave will find a similar home in our new apartment too.
Joel and Rachel lost almost everything they owned in the Haiti earthquake except their lives. They have lived in countless cities since they got married and most of their current personal possessions represent the bounty of keen op-shoppers and council clean-up opportunists. In many great ways we have been challenged to be more thrifty and to live more simply.
Joel and Rachel feel like family in lots of ways – we haven’t just shared rooms. From a great café or small bar find, to lengthy discussions about pacifism, theology, politics or injustice over long dinners and glasses of wine; from brunches with friends to endless cups of Rachel’s mum’s Anzac Tea Parlour tea, we have shared our day-to-day lives with these guys for the last year. We even created a mythical character together…a monacle & top hat wearing gentleman called ‘Audley Chester.’
Of course it hasn’t always been easy. There have been times when I have craved my own space, or my own way and times when indeed we have disagreed in front of our friends.
But in these moments I have received little lessons in patience and perspective, as I have been reminded to be thankful for our home and that living here for this season was part of God’s plan for our lives, so all I have to do is trust him.
As I look back I’m thankful for the adventures, laughter, and stories we have shared, for a friendship that has survived and evolved along the way, and for the many lessons God has taught me over the last year, both through our friends and the experience. Sharing our home was a risk worth taking.
Well where to begin? It’s been almost a whole month since my last post. And two weeks since we returned from our trip overseas to a new home.
Departing for the trip overseas from our home in Summer Hill, and returning to our new place in Petersham where we’re living with friends was always going to be a challenge for me. (Adam moved us while I was en route to Switzerland).
Having lived in our little flat in Summer Hill since we got married almost four years ago, it was the only place we’d known as home together. But as Adam kept reminding me as we packed our lives there into boxes, home is where our family is – it’s not about the walls, kitchen bench or furniture we were leaving behind.
The first few days of dealing with jet lag, searching through big bags for my clothes and asking endless “Where is my _____?” and “Why is this here?” were challenging to be sure, especially for my patient husband.
But with a bit of sleep, a lot of prayer and a trip to Ikea, it’s amazing how quickly this place is starting to feel like home. The air smells like charcoal chicken from 10am in the morning and Adam’s studio is in our bedroom, and I’m getting experienced at reverse parking in the narrow streets around our place, but it has its’ charms! This afternoon I took great delight in sitting on our couch bathed in the sunshine as I finished a book (particularly since the only place to sit in the afternoon sunshine at our old place was on the loo!) and on Thursday night I walked to bible study at a friends’ place!
Courtesy of our new combined iTunes library with our housemates, this song called Feels like Home, which I’d never heard before, played as I was writing this post
…coincidence? I think not.
Looking forward to all God has in store for us in this adventure of living with friends in this season of our lives.