To Build a Home, and Tear it Down

My family is in the midst of moving right now and it’s been really hard to say goodbye. If a house was just a group of walls and a collection of furniture, it wouldn’t be so hard to leave. But a house is much more than a place to rest your head at night. It’s the physical embodiment of deep emotions and close to the bone experiences.  It feels connected to me on a molecular level. Sounds very dramatic, I know. But the memories, that’s what makes it significant.

If, in the future, I were to decide to drive by my home and do some reminiscing,  I know that it would still be standing. But in my heart, my home feels like its being destroyed. Set on fire. Knocked down. Not because the home won’t physically exist anymore,  but because the home won’t be mine.

As a theater artist, I know about living in multiple homes and mourning at their destruction. The theater is about making new worlds exist for a period of time, only to be shut down again. A home comes to life and then dies to make room for the next. The time sensitivity is expected, it’s never a true shock. But the heart always feels sad, despite the fact that the expiration date was declared long before the home was created.

When a home in the theater is laid to rest, we offer up a celebration of the focused moments and stories told within that home. Ironically, a home of mine was just dissembled in the theater a few weeks ago.

We took it down and had a beautiful celebratory strike. We danced in a wide circle underneath the colored lights (at least thats the best way I can describe it to you for now). And then the last song came on. “To Build a Home” by Cinematic Orchestra. The moment it began I knew I needed to dance. I had a lot to say and feel about this song.

So I went out to the middle and danced as my own celebration of laying to rest what I love, and both reluctantly and readily, looking toward a new beginning. I don’t know if people followed me or not; it didn’t matter. The colored lights took me to an unrecognizable yet oddly familiar place that felt outside of reality. For a moment, I was dancing in the street outside of 6162 sierra palos. Piling my memories and  love and sadness and prayer in a huge heap in the center.

“There is a house built out of stone
Wooden floors, walls and window sills
Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust
This is a place where I don’t feel alone
This is a place where I feel at home.

And I built a home

for you
for me

Until it disappeared
from me
from you

And now, it’s time to leave and turn to dust……..”

And then the song ended. We stood in silence for what felt like an hour and stared at our empty, full home. The lights kept changing colors.

Friends, I know that life will lead us to inhabit many homes, both literal and figurative, over the years ahead. My prayer for me, for you, for us, is that we hold tightly onto the lessons learned and memories made in places, without clenching our fists and jaws against change.  Place doesn’t directly determine us. Instead, we often have the power to determine what makes a place. So define your spaces with gentleness and sincerity. Welcome in others to your home . . .

. . . even if only for a short while.

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset


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