Travis asked me a few days ago if I was ever going to write again. Of course, I immediately took that as a challenge because that’s what my type A personality does. I informed him that I was already working on a blog post but I hadn’t published it yet. So there. I’m sort of kidding. I know that he asked just because he likes to read what I write. It’s nice to have a husband that is also a big fan of mine.
I’ve thought and sorted and thought some more about what to write because I imagined that once I did write it would be a great post about the house with pictures of what we’ve done- and I’ll get to that- but if I’m going to be completely honest, this move has been a much more difficult transition for me than I thought it would be.
I loved living in Franklin. Anyone that knows me well knows that about me. Living in Franklin was the closest to home that I’d felt in the years since we left Florida. The historic homes and buildings were what I loved about my hometown in Lakeland. For years my family attended church that was a 30 minute drive from where we lived and since there was no interstate to make the commute faster, we had to drive through the center of town…a lot. Four times on Sunday, twice on Monday and twice on Wednesday. I never, ever tired of driving around Lake Hollingsworth with it’s big historic mansions. I loved taking Success Avenue past the historic Mediterranean, Foursquare & Cottage homes. Through downtown I could see historic hotels, some had been converted to assisted living and another was full of homeless people until it shut down and was later refurbished and reopened but I always thought they were beautiful. I tend to see things for what they could be rather than what they are presently.
When we moved to Franklin I loved it. Once again, every Sunday, we were driving through the historic district to get to church. Franklin has a decided advantage over Lakeland in the lack of crime and I always felt safe walking there. I instantly felt at home. We’d already lived in Tennessee for about 7 years and although I had really tried to, I hadn’t felt at home before we moved to Franklin
So why didn’t we stay there? Well, after years of living in a house that was way too small, that was older and needed so much expensive work, I was tired. We were tired. All of us, even the kids. The real estate market had gone up drastically, very quickly, which was good for us in that we were able to sell our house but we weren’t going to be able to go up in space as much as we felt that we needed to for the price we wanted to pay and we definitely didn’t want another fixer upper. We prayed about it, of course. We talked to our leaders at church, we talked to our Realtor- who also happens to be a leader at our church- we talked to friends that we love and respect their advice, & we talked to our parents. We didn’t want to make a mistake because real estate mistakes are expensive and can bring a lot of misery. Been there, done that. So, having talked (a lot) and having prayed (a lot) we decided that we were going to move to Spring Hill.
And you know the rest of the story, we found an amazing, brand-new house that had everything we wanted and a lot of things that we hoped for but were sure we wouldn’t get. It’s truly amazing. I’ve said to some friends that it’s like God peeked inside my head and put everything I wanted into our home, stuck a bow on it and gave it to us. Just the space alone has made so many things easier for us and I have been so thankful.
We’ve hosted my parents and friends and Amanda and Daniel have already visited and we had room for everybody. Travis and I remarked over and over about how much less stressful it was to have four extra people stay in our new house. There were plenty of bathrooms and bedrooms and we could have everyone in the kitchen at the same time and still have room for more people. Our home is beautiful. We have granite countertops and wood floors, a fireplace and front porch. Our yard was fenced in before we ever moved in so Daisy is safe, the neighborhood has sidewalks and a swimming pool. It has everything that I said I wanted and more.
So imagine my surprise when I started waking up depressed.
I never thought that a new house would make me happy. I was pretty sure that a new house would make some things in my life less stressful and I was right about that. It’s much less stressful to have a garage and closets to store things in. It’s much less stressful because when I open a closet door, nothing falls on my head. But I’ve known for years that the thoughts of, “if only” were nothing more than a diversion. If only we were out of debt, if only my house were bigger, if only…add whatever you’re struggling with here….my life would be better. “If only” keeps us from facing things inside of us that need healing, it keeps us from facing our misery head on. So we sit and stew and focus on the big things that we think are making our lives miserable instead of the root of the problem. I can say this because I used to live in the land of “if only” and it never helps.
Okay, so “yay” I was right. My house didn’t make me happy but I can say with all certainty that I didn’t expect it to depress me. So, I did what I always do.
I mentally freaked out.
For days and days I tried to figure out why in the world I could possibly be depressed. God had moved mountains for us. He sold a house that I was convinced we would never be able to sell and had given us everything that we wanted. I had no right to be depressed and I told myself that over and over and over. I was being ungrateful. Except that I knew I was thankful for everything and for where God had brought us so that couldn’t be it. But maybe it could. So I tried to forget about it. And I didn’t want to get out of bed. So I told myself I was being lazy. Over and over and over again. It was a merry-go-round of misery. I read my Bible and I prayed but I didn’t feel like doing either thing. I was crabby and irritable and I wasn’t sleeping- again. I wondered what terrible sin I’d committed that would cause me to be in such a funk. I looked for things in my neighborhood that would make me feel at home. I walked and took pictures and was determined to find something, anything that would help me not feel so out of sorts.
The walk actually really helped.
Something else that helped was taking a walk with Travis through our neighborhood and just talking to sort it out. When I’m depressed I’m very quiet. If you’ve followed my blog through the years you could probably pinpoint when I’m happy and optimistic and when I’m depressed or dealing with big things just by how often I write. I’m not a terribly mysterious person. Although if I’d just talk it out I’d make things much easier on myself.
So, Travis and I talked and talked and walked and walked and imagine my surprise when he brought up the subject of possibly buying 5 or 10 acres and building a house at some point in the future. Wait, what? I suddenly had permission to dream again. This house wasn’t the end of the road. If Travis thinks of wanting to do something else in a few years, then maybe I’m not being ungrateful for feeling hemmed in by houses and a privacy fence. Maybe it’s okay for me to dream of someday having my own orchard and a couple of goats.
Then for Labor Day we had some friends over that hadn’t seen the house yet. These people are so dear and went through every single bit of drama with us last year. The old house’s remodel, Travis getting laid off, us trying to figure out where to move, and they fasted and prayed with us for the sale of our house. During the course of the evening we talked and laughed and we also prayed for each other. At the very end of the night, I don’t remember how it came up, I was very honest with them about how difficult a transition this has been for me. And I was so surprised to hear my friend say that she had been concerned about that for me. I said that it shouldn’t matter because Franklin is only 20 minutes away, I can still visit, but I was actually depressed and didn’t want to get out of bed. She told me that she’d experienced the same thing when she moved. She told herself that she was moving from a small town to a small town but she still cried when she went to the grocery store. In that moment she gave me permission to feel sad that I’d moved away from a place that I loved. Suddenly everything made sense and I felt a giant weight roll off of me.
It wasn’t complicated or mysterious anymore. I’m a girl that misses her adopted hometown. That’s it.
I don’t let myself feel sad, angry, disappointed, etc. without spending a whole lot of time berating myself for having “bad” feelings. My feelings were an indicator that something was wrong but because I’ve been trained to believe that every feeling that isn’t happiness or joy is of “the devil” it kept me from getting to the bottom of what was actually wrong. Because something was wrong, I was sad. Denying it, rebuking it, trying to pray it away didn’t do any good. Understanding that we made the right decision to move here, for all the right reasons hasn’t exempted me from the consequences of that. Consequences is a word that’s typically taken as punishment, ie, “you disobeyed and those are the consequences” when all it really means is, “a result or effect of an action or condition”. We moved to Spring Hill and I’ve had to deal with sadness because I moved away from Franklin.
So why would my first blog post after I move be about this? I can’t say anything other than I felt like I should write about it. Because I’m never the only one. I like to think that I’m completely unique but I struggle with the same things that everyone else does. And also so that I’ll remember the next time I’m in a situation like this. I should have called someone and been honest about struggling. But honestly, everyone was so happy for us that I didn’t want to bring anyone down. I also didn’t want to be the woman who just wasn’t going to be happy no matter what. I didn’t want to be called ungrateful or deal with being reprimanded over feeling sad- yes, that’s happened before. I felt pressure to be only happy and whether or not that was justified I felt that way anyway. I’m writing this so that next time I can pray about who to talk to about it because God knows who I needed in that moment and for every other moment. I had no idea that my friend and leader would understand that even though I was happy and excited and thankful about our new house I could also be very sad about leaving Franklin. But God knew and even though it wasn’t part of my plan to talk about it, it was part of His plan. And I honestly don’t feel so sad anymore. I’ll keep looking for the good and I have no doubt that I’ll find exactly what I’m looking for.