It is curious sometimes to look at your own house when you approach it from a distance.
When your house is at a bend in the street – the way ours is – you can see it a block away when you’re coming home from a walk to Starbucks on a Saturday afternoon. A fifteen-minute stroll away, the coffee house gives Marc and me a reason to put on layers on a winter day and venture forth together and talk through the coming and going with our short cappuccinos and skinny lattes.
When what usually surrounds you comes slowly into view from a distance, you get to wondering what other people imagine when they see your house, what sort of people they think might live there. You happen to know what sort of people do.... or at least you think you do.
Sometimes you remember what you thought when you saw the place for the first time. You remember what you thought about the kind of people who get to live in a place like that. You wondered what it would be like for others to think that you were that sort of people.
The kind of people you might have hoped to become by living there gets suggested by a familiar comment after a realtor’s open house: “We could be happy living there.”
You might have walked through the house for the first time and later that evening pictured Christmas trees, logs in the fireplace, long dinner parties with friends.
You would not necessarily have thought that this might be the home to which you would either of you return after a mother’s funeral or a father’s. You would not necessarily have thought that this might be the place where the news of Katrina would signal the end of visits to a family hub as you had known those visits in the past. You would not necessarily have thought that this might be the front walkway up which you step fresh from a hospitalization.
There are times when you look at your house from a distance and you become curious about the kind of people you have become while living there. What would someone’s silhouette – your silhouettes – across the window look like or suggest? Purposeful living? Domestic contentment? A thoughtful engagement with another day’s duties and opportunities?
There might be times when you look at your house from a distance and you become curious about when the chance or the need to imagine other scenarios for your life will occur. You attend neighborhood meetings, and you wonder whether you might one day no longer be the sort of people who would enjoy living here. You watch economic indicators and oil bills, and you wonder whether you might one day no longer be the sort of people who could afford living here.
Really, though, you have few doubts that there will be many more reasons for joy, many more opportunities for love awaiting you in the months and years ahead as you walk home on a winter afternoon, short cappuccino and skinny latte in hand.