Within the next few weeks, a significant life chapter closes for me.
Many of you have followed my chronicles of cleaning out the house my father built in 1966 for my grandparents and aunts and preparing it for sale. Last week, the house went on the market. Less than 24 hours later, it was under contract for above list price. The Lord did an amazing work in that 24-hour span, and I am grateful.
At times, moving forward is hard, especially when sentimentality is involved, but the next chapter is full of promise, and I feel the winds of forward motion stirring.
Following are thoughts on moving ahead:
Do the Hard Work
Emptying the house of its contents involved going through countless papers, knickknacks, boxes, closets, cabinets, and cubbyholes. Some decisions were easy; many others were not. How do you dispose of years of living, the lives of loved ones, and the mementos thereof?
Some of the work was dirty and unpleasant. Other times, I found myself lost for hours in a vortex of memories that pulled me into the past and held me there.
Often, we avoid doing life’s hard things. We procrastinate thinking a later time will be easier. But most often, the only way to accomplish hard work is to dive in and swim through the pleasant and unpleasant alike.
What do you need to deal with so you can move forward?
One of the greatest blessings of this whole process has been the discovery of copious pictures, letters, and notes. I learned things I would never have known had I not taken the time to carefully sift through the contents of the house.
Cherished memories are a gift. But avoid getting stuck in the past. Utilize memories to strengthen your life journey, while realizing that more, and often better, lies ahead.
Take Part in Someone Else’s New Joy
The purchasers of the home toured the house for over an hour. Their agent reported their excitement, and the plans they have for making the home their own.
Knowing this family seems to love the house as much as my family loved it is a tremendous blessing. This is a house that was filled with love and laughter. It was the scene of many family gatherings. The house hosted cousin sleepovers, numerous indoor, year-round Easter egg hunts, story creations on an old manual typewriter, tents that stayed in place in the living room for weeks, piano and voice lessons, and lots and lots of music and singing.
I rejoice with the new owners and wish them many years of joy in this place.
One of the hardest parts of letting go of this house is knowing it is the last of the houses my father built that has been in my possession. When I sold my childhood home in 2020, I grieved the loss, but I was also thankful to release the responsibility.
Many may not understand why houses hold such a connection for me. My father was a builder, and some of my earliest memories involve the smell of lumber on him and the fun of walking through his houses under construction.
As a child, I stood by him at his drawing board as he drew house plans. I rode in this station wagon to school, often with 2 x 4’s balanced on the dash between us and hanging out the back window.
I’m thankful for a father who was a builder of sturdy houses, a father who was loving, humble, giving, trustworthy, and kind, an earthly father who reflected the qualities of the Heavenly Father. I’m also thankful for both sides of my family, who trusted God and leaned on Him in all situations.
Banish Worry and Fear
Worry and fear are unhappy twins that burden the mind and steal joy.
In preparing the house for sale, I worried I wasn’t doing enough. I was anxious about where to set the list price. I feared I hadn’t done enough touch ups and cleaning. Finally, I gave my worries and fears to God and moved forward with putting the house on the market.
So often, we waste time and energy worrying about things that never come to pass. We fear what lies ahead and allow that fear to stop us in our tracks. Decide today to quell fear and worry.
Be Open to Next Steps
What is ahead for me now that this major, nine-month project is coming to an end? Will the emotions of letting this house go nip at my heels for months to come? Possibly, but I’m keeping my eyes forward.
My history will always be part of my future, but I won’t allow the past to prevent being open to next steps. I know God’s plans for my future are already in place and I welcome his direction and leadership.
“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives” (Psalm 37:23 NLT).
Moving forward is hard, especially when sentimentality is involved, but the next chapter is full of promise.
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving through, and 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 Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books), 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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