“Little by little, inch by inch
We built a yard with a garden in the middle of it
It ain’t much but it’s a start
You got me swaying right along to the song in your heart
And a face to call home”
— John Mayer, A Face To Call Home
It’s been a difficult road for my parents these past few years.
Illness and age have caught up and they are no longer able to manage for themselves. Over the span of a lifetime, young faces became old faces, and new places became old places. And the old places no longer worked, so alternate accommodations were found. That left a house full of stuff, yet sadly empty. Empty of what makes a house a home.
Yesterday, with a heavy heart, I began the arduous task of cleaning out my parents’ home. My childhood home.
The first steps were the hardest. When I walked in the door, it was cold. It was lonely. There was no greeting from my mother. Just the chill of silence. It was just a place.
But as the day progressed something about the lonely place changed. People started coming over. One by one, from different walks of life, people came to help. First friends, then family. Friends of my parents and friends of mine. First from my mother’s side. Then my father’s. They all came to our place.
With their help, the chill started to fade. The house itself was still just full of stuff, but it was no longer empty. It was filled with people. They warmed the house with their familiar laughs, their familiar habits, their familiar ways. Their familiar faces.
When you pack up a home, you pack up a life. A lifetime of possessions, hobbies, work, laughter, sadness, anger, and happiness.
But the place you call home isn’t just a collection of stuff. It isn’t even a place. It’s a face. The faces of everyone you know. That’s what makes a home a home.
I came back home yesterday to start a difficult job. I came back to a place that I call home.
To the faces I call home.
Yesterday’s gift of time … Started cleaning out my parents’ house. Without a face, a place is just a place.