Home at Arundelle Green

It feels like it has been months since I’ve had time to sit down and write. The past few weeks have been full to the brim with boxes, packing tape, anticipation, and then unpacking the mountain of stuff that piled, haphazardly, in my garage awaiting rediscovery.

I was tempted to haul it all off, to be honest.

How do we own enough “things” to fill that many boxes?

Oh yeah, twenty-four years of marriage and five kids. That’s a lot of keepsakes.

And books.

And Christmas decorations. (So. Many. Christmas decorations. Hello, my name is Jeanine and I am a Christmas hoarder.)

After two weeks in this lovely place, I finally ascended a stepladder with a hammer and a smile to put a hole in the wall–a permanent scar that forever signifies the transplant of our lives here, in this big brick house surrounded by ponds and woods, fields and farms. A picture hung of seven smiling faces just before my oldest left the nest. Our family.

I’ve wielded a power drill, too, and felt the glee of hanging a shelf perfectly level. I’ve patched holes and found the paint in the garage that matched, nearly skipping when I realized it was perfect.

I’ve also called the HVAC repair people twice, but that’s another story.

Now, at last, I sit on my back porch listening to the birds sing and the owls hoot in the woods. A hummingbird occasionally darts to the feeder near the steps and a bright yellow bird with black-tipped feathers has discovered the feeder near the large domed rock. The breeze is cool in the shade and the brush alongside the pond is reflected in ripples while barnswallows circle overhead because I am apparently sitting too close to their nest.

Don’t worry. I won’t hurt your babies.

The air is sweet here. Mornings are quiet and there is just so much to take in. I relish these early hours as I know the rest of the day will be filled with hanging more pictures, catching up on email (it took two weeks to get internet installed so I’m a bit behind) and getting the aforementioned HVAC fixed since it is going to be 1000 degrees today.

I love this place. I love the doors that stick and the creaky wooden gate that has to be forced shut with my entire body weight. I love the reminders of families who have lived here before us, white chains that once held ferns (and will, again) dangle from the porch. Roses bloom wild on bushes that have been allowed to mature for years and the crepe myrtles are tipped with buds that promise to bloom very soon. I wonder what color those flowers will be. I wonder how a place so new can feel so familiar.

It hit me one day as we made trip after trip with my Explorer loaded to the hilt with boxes and breakables: This place felt like home even before we were completely moved in. We had driven the route from our old house to the new countless times, always needing to watch the GPS carefully so as not to miss the spot where you veer left to make the last long stretch to our little town. I have a reputation for being directionally challenged, so imagine my surprise when I realized I had not used my GPS this time and had mindlessly made the trip…home.

Isn’t it just like the Lord to teach us in a moment like that? Just think about it…

We spend our lives practicing for the final move Home. Every time we meet with our church family, spend time with our friends who share this faith-walk with us, and practice the spiritual disciplines of Bible study and prayer we are paving a path to Heaven. What, in the beginning, often feels awkard and forced becomes, over time, familiar.

Beloved, even.

So I though about that. About how each time I drove a car full of boxes and unloaded them in the garage I was learning the roads, the best route, and was prepared for that veer to the right so much so that I did it mindlessly, without effort. I didn’t even realize I had driven that far until I was halfway to our new home. The process of moving forged a path of familiarity that made the transition feel natural.

And that is what the spiritual disciplines and community do for us. They are the means God uses to pull back the veil that separates the now and not-yet. They are the boxes (treasures) being laid up in Heaven that will cause our new surroundings to be comforting, restful, and familiar.

I told my husband last night how much I love this house. How it felt familiar even as we moved in. Like I remember it from some season past.

It’s perfectly imperfect. Beautiful and quirky. A home full of memories that will hold countless more.

It is our home at Arundelle Green.


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