On the day we were married, Gerry and I had arrived at the church where the ceremony was to be held early, long before the pastor or any guests were there. We stood facing each other at the front of the sanctuary and prayed, asking God’s blessing on our marriage.
Years later, Gerry sliped a shiny new key into a keyhole, turned it, opened a white paneled door, and we took our first step into the house that officially became “ours” just that morning. We couldn’t wait to walk through it together, and alone, for the first time to give thanks and ask God’s blessing on this new chapter in our life.
The door opened into a lavender-colored foyer. A door on the right lead to a room we planed to turn into an office for Gerry. Directly in front of us was an open door leading to a mostly-unfinished area that would soon be filled with moving boxes.
On the left, carpeted stairs led upstairs to the main living area that I had been picturing in my mind since our offer to purchase the home was accepted a few weeks ago: the living room with the bay window, the gas fireplace, the walk-in closet in the master bedroom, and the sliding glass doors in the kitchen leading onto a deck overlooking a golf course.
A piece of notepaper sats on the stair landing with a ring of keys on top of it.
“Dear Gerry and Linda”, the note began. “Welcome home!”
My throat constricted and my eyes welled up with tears as I read the salutation.
I had long ago given up the fantasy of a having stable home and family. A bad marriage, a devastating divorce, followed by years of depression had stolen my vision. Then Gerry came along and taught me how to believe in my dreams again. My heart swelled with gratitude for him, our children, and now, our home.
In time we would leave our own mark on this house. It would be repainted and re-carpeted; one of our sons would lay new tile in the bathrooms, the kitchen, and the foyer in which we now stood. Gerry and our boys would work over the course of one summer to turn the unfinished area into quilting sanctuary for me, wine-making room for him, and a large recreation room where we would hang photographs from our vacations.
The room upstairs with the bay window and the gas fireplace would be filled with the laughter of our sons teasing one other, and the oak chairs around our new dining room table would hold friends and family sharing laughter and good food.
Our daughter would dress for her wedding in the spare bedroom. She would stand in the living room, in front of the bay window, as I fussed with her hair. She would stand at the mirror in the newly-tiled bathroom putting on earrings that had once belonged to my mother.
As I stood in the lavender-colored foyer and read the note from the previous owners welcoming us into this home I imagined the many blessings that the future would hold.
And I was thankful.
This brought tears to my eyes — the other day I recognized how fortunate I am – how so many of the things I wished and hoped for have come true in one way or another, and how being grateful fo r these things is a great gift we give to ourselves.
Welcome to the new digs, Kat! Gratitude is a gift we give ourselves.