This week marks the end of a long chapter of my life as I finalize the sale of my childhood home. My father built the house in 1951 and it has remained in the family for almost 70 years. As I write this, I struggle to sort my emotions and thoughts. Closing a life chapter is bittersweet, but in the process, you gain perspective on the past, the present, and the future.
While my closing life chapter involves saying goodbye to my homeplace, the chapter you are closing may be different. Perhaps yours is retirement, the loss of a loved one, an unexpected job termination, a health challenge that changes everything, or the unwanted end of a relationship. While our circumstances may differ, the emotions are similar. Here are some insights to help us through:
Memories are Yours to Keep
My childhood home and its surroundings—the yard, towering trees, the swimming pool my father had installed when I was 11—are filled with memories. I can’t begin to count the times I’ve driven down the hill onto Greenbriar Road and experienced that homecoming feeling as I turned into the driveway.
Although I haven’t lived in the house in forty years, it has always been home. Experiencing the warmth of the house, sitting by the pool or floating in it, staring up at the blue sky and canopy of trees, praying, thinking, processing, that place has been a haven and sanctuary for me. When I am there, memories roll like a feature film. I hear voices and laughter and see faces. Somehow, I think heaven will be a little like 110 Greenbriar Road.
When you close a life chapter, no matter what else changes, the memories are yours to keep. Even though you lose access to surroundings or people, the events and emotions remain etched in your heart and mind.
Thankfulness and Blessings
When we were young adults, I remember a cousin saying, “I thought all families were as close and loving as ours until I went to college and heard the struggles of others. Then, I realized how blessed we really are.” We were, and continue to be, blessed beyond measure with a good heritage, one built on love for each other and faith in God.
I am thankful for loving parents who taught me the importance of cultivating a life of faith that anchors me in times of challenge. I’m thankful for the friends and family who celebrated, played, and prayed in my homeplace. I’m thankful my son and his family lived in the house and two of my grandchildren were born there. In remembering all that was positive and joyous my emotions overflow with the saying of final goodbyes.
As you close a life chapter, look for the positives and cherish them.
For me, letting go of this life chapter is hard. I have been responsible for the house since before my mother died ten years ago. I know the quirks of the house, like the light switch for the sunroom light and ceiling fan is behind the dining room door, and the back door locks you out if you’re not careful. I know which hardwood floor slats creak and should be avoided as you walk past the door of a sleeping grandbaby’s room.
This week I cease to be the owner. I pass the keys and the responsibility to others. I know there will be many times in weeks to come when I head toward the house without remembering it is no longer mine. There will be times when I wake in the night and wonder what has changed and what is the same, and if they are taking care of things the way I did.
Letting go of a life chapter is a process, one that is incremental. It’s ok to wonder if you made the right choice and wish for the familiar. But remember, when you close a life chapter, another waits to be written. Forward motion holds surprises and blessings.
Some would call it coincidence that the sale of my homeplace and the due date for my new book occur in the same week. I call it God’s divine timing. The house is no longer mine, but the release of my book comes with the new year. The next life chapter is on the horizon and I look forward with anticipation to all that involves. With eyes forward, I watch with expectancy for what lies ahead. Join me in the journey as you forge your own path.
The Lord himself will lead you and be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you, so do not lose courage or be afraid. Deuteronomy 31:8 GNT
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. Isaiah 32:18 NIV
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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