Over the past few weeks, my husband and I have had to navigate more than a few twists and turns. He has started a new job- a new career path- and I am so proud as I watch him work outside of his comfort zones and find success, one step at a time. That is never easy at any age or stage in life.
We have been preparing for a move into a new place that we have been so excited about. When we first moved to the beach area where we live, we were in a mad rush. I had just gotten a new job and we literally had only a few days to find somewhere to live. We were so lucky to find a place close to my office, and only a few blocks from the beach—and also within our budget. To top it all off, the place was furnished (one of the benefits of moving to a vacation area). We signed the year lease and moved in and started a life here.
Within six months of moving here last year, we were married in a small local church with all of our family and friends. After the ceremony and reception, we went with our photographers to a quiet area of the beach for some photos by the ocean. It was November 13th and the day was spectacular. It was 70 degrees out and I didn’t see a cloud in the sky all day. That was unusual even for this area—and there wasn’t another day like it that fall. We both felt there was something magical and perfect about that day, and that we were meant to be together, and be married right then, right there, in that moment.
Then, last week, I got laid off from my job. We have had a few little bumps here and the days leading up to that, and I think both of us wondered if our luck was changing. Just a week before I found out I was getting laid off, we had bought some furniture for our new place (which is unfurnished), and recently had to buy a car, so our finances already felt tight. For a few days we both discussed quietly what we had to do to make things work, and what changes we needed to make.
We knew we needed to go forward with the move, and we had already signed one lease and ended the previous one. We had to have furniture, and had a ridiculously long time to pay off what we had purchased, without finance charges or fees. We made excel spreadsheets and budget plans. I have been down this road a few more times than my husband, and have been in some seriously dire financial straits. Even though you can’t help but worry, I have learned that these situations can cause you to sink—not feeling like getting out of bed or facing the world—and that is the last place you need to be when money is tight.
After a few days, we shook ourselves out of the funk we were in and rolled forward—giving thanks for what we DO have—that we can eat and pay the bills—and most of all- we can make each other laugh. I am so thankful for that part of our relationship. We laugh so much—even in tough times. We know each other’s funny bones so well, and there are times I almost can’t breathe when Shea says something too witty at just the right moment. There is a saving grace in that kind of laughter, a kind of safety net for when things seem too dark or serious.
So today, I stayed home and waited for the delivery of our furniture. I had a million thoughts in my head, thinking of where we are right now money-wise, and how excited I was to see how our place would look filled with the pieces we had chosen. The delivery men carted our living room pieces up flights of stairs and unwrapped each piece. Our bedroom furniture fit into the room as if I had planned and measured carefully (which I had not).
Gathering up the plastic wrap and moving blankets, the movers left and I walked back upstairs. I stood in my living room and took it all in. To me, this was not just furniture. This was a home I had been waiting for thirty-some odd years. This was the start of a life I had dreamed of for so long, and had given up on having a long time ago.
As dramatic and sappy as it sounds, I stood in this room, quiet with only the whir of the ceiling fan in the background. I closed my eyes and let a thousand scenes play in my head. I remembered walking to the end of the dirt road we lived on when I was 10 years old and staring into the field that spread out beyond our neighborhood. I remembered wishing out loud to just be on my way in the world and find to find love and hope and a good, happy life.
I remembered moments with my father that made me stop believing in myself—moments I wish I could forget.
I remembered nights during my college years, feeling like I was slipping into an abyss that would engulf me—out in the world on my own for the first time and having no family or support to tether me and wanting more than anything to feel better, feel happy, feel loved.
I remembered stupid choices, failed ventures, lost love, and battling depression for the better part of my life. I remembered finding a therapist who finally saw the truth behind everything and lit a path for me to follow and find my way back to the living.
Most of all, I remembered sitting in a parking lot in California over three years ago. A mixture of a toxic work environment, a huge heartbreak and betrayal and ongoing, painful family issues had overwhelmed me. I was out there by myself and had just had the final blow hit me. I remembered how absolutely alone I felt in the world and how hopeless. I remember vividly that I did not want to be here, there, or anywhere anymore.
More than anything, I remembered how much I believed, with all of my heart and soul, that things would not get any better.
And then, I opened my eyes in my home, our home. I looked around at the beautiful furniture, and the life we are building. And despite money worries, work stress, life changes and everything else, I am so grateful. So grateful, that somehow I made it through, that somehow Shea and I found each other and that somehow, today I can’t imagine being anywhere else but here.
The money will work itself out. We have everything we need.
The fabric collage featured here "My Home, My Heart" is by Marty Mason. Click here to see more of her beautiful work.