Saturday, November 15, 2008

Paradise Lost & Found

A pile of papers were signed yesterday, and as quickly as that, I was no longer a home-owner.

Two lawyers, a couple of sweet kids and my new friends, the new owners, tried to make it easier with light banter, but there was tension in the room. It was difficult to look at the young father settling into their future and not think about how optimistic I felt 12 years ago when purchasing the property and signing the mortgage that would build us a home.

From the time I shoved snow off the foundation to set the first piece of wood to mowing the lawn last spring, this home served as such a tangible monument for what I could do for my family. We were safe and warm. At times, we laughed uproariously together. Many times, we variously cringed and cried.

For me, the home became tainted by the violence of the emotions it sheltered. Moving from it, although difficult, has not been as wrenchingly painful as I imagined. This sorrow is not at all a product of the home, and a new family has every chance of enjoying all the wealth, comfort and love a crackling holiday fire can inspire.

Decisions I made a long time ago, and momentum I allowed to sweep over me, meant that I left that conference table yesterday with only a small check of reimbursement for work and materials required to complete the sale. My share of the proceeds was gobbled by the IRS for repayment of money I had used to feed my family in hard times. It was wrong, inappropriate, and I alone, am financially paying for it.

In a clear effort to redirect the pain and bitterness, I immediately took a portion of that meager payment and bought myself an electric guitar I had been caressing for several weeks. The hard work to build and pay for that home, to provide for my family as best I could, brought me satisfaction beyond measure, but was corrupted horribly by the years of stress and the final loss. This small gesture (replacing the guitar I had sold to pay an electric bill) is an affirmation to be fondled daily, whether by fingers or eyes, reminding me that I am worth it, life matters, hard work pays off.

Misfortune befalls all of us in some form. We can be victims, blaming others and remain in the squalor of our unhappiness, or we can take responsibility for our contribution and climb out into the light. This lovely house on Hayward Street, for me, will forever be remembered as the home where I helped to raise two incredible beings who will one day understand that, in spite of it all, they were loved.

Once, I received a trophy, long vanished, for an all-star game I did not deserve, having played with only half my heart among others whose efforts made me look good. Another trophy, which still sits on my shelf, I did earn with an out-standing whole-hearted effort. This little guitar means much more to me than its modest price would indicate, is much more solid in my hands than any amount of money that might have come and gone from my checking account.

May I play it in good health, expressing well all the love that surrounds me.
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Hayden Tompkins said...

Oh, Kip. I know in time your heart will ease. Meanwhile, that is a FABULOUS guitar. It clearly says "I ROCK".

Zannah said...

Oh dad, how I will miss that house, too. I helped paint the first coat of white base paint on all the walls (a spring break well worth spent)!! Fun times around the table and fireplace, but better times to come! I love you!

Rhea said...

Wow, how hard. I don't know your particular circumstances, but I once sold a home I loved. It was so hard that I couldn't even drive by it for a year or two after I sold it.

Cricket said...

Oh, this is so touching. You will be just fine moving right along into the next moment in time.