It’s a familiar plot line. A thirty something woman returns to her childhood home and suddenly flashbacks of younger years start to flood her consciousness. Will she deal with the past and make peace with the demons or will she walk away stronger and full of purpose? It is a premise that Hollywood has focused on for years and one that I never dreamed would be my reality.
My family and I recently made a trek to my parents home. They generously offered us the use of their house for a small vacation while they are overseas for work. The vacation was also to provide an opportunity for my husband and I to consider moving to their small town. This was a vacation with purpose. My husband and I were excited about the possibilities and were hungry to begin a new phase in our lives…..until I walked through the front door.
I did not grow up in this home but that didn’t stop the flashbacks from my youth. I was flooded with memories. I was surrounded by furniture, pictures, books and smells that reminded me of a life that I have worked so hard to understand. I faltered a bit, laughed at my own insecurity and the irony of the situation. This was not a Hollywood movie but why did I feel like I was lead character in a drama that was about to explode?
The next few days were a torrent of emotions. Every room and every item was a memory. The antique rotary phone that once was in the kitchen is now on a bookshelf and as I stared it I remembered trying to secretly call my best friend at 1am praying she was still awake. I slept on my childhood bed with my husband and as I tossed and turned all I could think of were the millions of nights I cried myself to sleep. The books on every shelf in every room were a reminder of the expectations that were heaped upon me and the utter disappointment when I did not follow through as planned. At different times I could audibly hear the horrible arguments, empty threats, and insults that were thrown at me my entire life.
Compared to many, my childhood was not a horrible one. From the outside looking in I looked like spoiled child with too many toys. However, once one stepped into my world the money was a facade and a tool that used for bait. I was viewed as a disappointment. I was never obedient enough, thin enough, or smart enough. At one point it was revealed to me that it was hoped I would “marry rich” but it proved to be a pleasant surprise when I was capable of holding my own. I rejected the path that was paved for me and took the one less traveled. I did not want to be controlled like a lifeless doll. I was strong, opinionated and determined to be different…..determined not to be like them.
It was the third day of our visit and I was ready to “get the hell out of Dodge.” Even though my family was not in the house there was too much of the past there and we knew it was not the right situation. I remember standing in the front yard looking at the beautiful scenery wishing I could appreciate it however all I could feel was a knot in my stomach reminding me that this was not the Utopia we hoped it would be. We needed to go. Immediately.
We are now home and I have had a respectable amount of time to process the entire experience. I am pleased we went. I am so very pleased to find that I am not the same person that I once was. The scared and insecure version of me from my twenties is gone. Over the last eleven years, I have grown into a woman that is more secure and grounded. It is through my walk with Christ that I have become the person I am today. Through the trials of the last 10 years I have been shown grace and mercy. I have been shown that I may not have become the woman that ‘someone’ wanted me to be but I am becoming the woman,wife, and mother that HE wants me to be. Through His strength, I have grown.
I did not walk away from this trip with resentment or anger but rather a sense of peace and purpose and for that I’m grateful. I am grateful for the way He has molded and changed me. I have learned to forgive the past and look to the future. I love that when I stumble there will be no harsh words or resentment. Instead I will be picked back up and told “Let’s try this again.”
The ending to my story may not be the typical Hollywood ending but I prefer it. I’m not saying the harsh words or memories don’t still sting but I know that it won’t be forever. I have successfully moved into a new phase of my life and I can’t wait to see what is next.