This is where
This is the bright home
in which I live,
this is where
this is where I want
to love all the things
it has taken me so long
to learn to love.
This is the temple
of my adult aloneness
and I belong
to that aloneness
as I belong to my life.
There is no house
like the house of belonging. — David Whyte
If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you know it has been a very personal journey for me. It has required a degree of disclosure that was quite difficult, and not without risk. While I’ve written voluminous amounts over the years, at least 80 percent of it has been in the form of personal, one-to-one correspondence, by letter, and later, increasingly, by email. Putting my words out into the open for all to see terrified me for many years, even after I was first published over 20 years ago, and it’s still intimidating for me when I stop to think about it.
When one lives a private, almost isolated life as I have lived for many years now, anonymity becomes a shield of protection and a cloak for vulnerability. But such safety, if it exists at all, is mostly illusory. A year later, I believe that the rewards of venturing into the scary but exciting terrain of cyberspace largely unarmed (to use Glennon Doyle Melton’s apt description) has been worth the risk for me.
So today I thank you for visiting me in my online home; now let’s take a journey with the Ghost of Christmas Past. I ask you to step, in spirit, into our York family room at Christmas time. Neither you nor we are able to be there today, but if we were, we could introduce you to the friends who, over many years, have filled that space with endless conversation, both lighthearted and serious, along with boisterous laughter, and even ukelele music and singing. Many of these loved ones have moved away; one has left this earth, and others we hope to see in our York home again in the future. Today, you are welcome to be there in spirit with us, a place where everyone belongs. I hope you will know the joy of creating such spaces and places wherever you may live in the physical world. There is no place quite like the house of belonging.
One year ago today
This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.
Good morning, Julia!
Your York home makes a lovely space for Christmas decorating. I tried to imagine what your new home would look like, decorated. It would be a huge undertaking to deck those halls, for sure!
Thank you for sharing your home with us.
I wonder if I’ll ever have the energy to fully decorate again in the future?
Susan, I wonder the same thing about myself and decorating. The York home was a perfect place to decorate. I haven’t been able to muster the energy to even think about extensive decorating in the northern Virginia home. But the Ghost of Christmas Past is one of the strong detriments to my ongoing effort to turn loose of the York home and sell it. The fact that the entire neighborhood goes all out for decorating, with locally-famous luminaries every Christmas Eve, doesn’t make it any easier.
What a gorgeous tree and inviting room! It must have taken you hours to put all the lights and decorations on your Christmas tree. This year, with no one coming into our home due to our being in protective isolation from the virus, I only put about 1/3 of the things on our tree and less than that for decorating the house. It feels ok, even comfortable. My husband likes it just fine and so I guess I’m the one who always wanted more.
Judy, you and me both. I have toyed with the idea of putting up a simpler tree. The last few years I did put up my tree, I never completely got all the ornaments on — but at least 95% of them or more. From setting the HUGE tree up, to putting on the lights, to putting on the ornaments, I used to allow at least a week, spending the better part of each day on it. Every year I wondered if it was a profligate use of my time. But every year, especially the last few I put it up, there was the little voice in my head saying “this may be the last time you will ever want to do it.” Like you, I feel better with less for the time being. Don’t know if that will ever change.
What a breathtakingly beautiful tree! And such a cozy picture! Thank you, Julia, for taking the step in courage to share so many special thoughts, words, and photos with us.
Susan, it’s readers such as you who make it a joy to share. The tree really is something when I have it all done. Even a photo doesn’t capture it. But that York family room was perhaps the coziest place I’ve ever known, other than the family room of my home in East Point, Georgia while I was growing up. Thanks for being here and sharing with me!