More Than These Walls

Originally published Tuesday, 22 February 2022.

The contents of our attic are in our backyard. There are skis and sleds, three Easter baskets, a pair of crutches from Justin’s knee surgery, a container of American Girl doll clothes, five suitcases, a rocking horse, a basket of blocks, another basket of Thomas the Train, three bins of children’s art and stories, two bins of journals. I can see it all from my bedroom window. The things we will take with us, the physical objects that jog memories—and the useful objects that help.

The movers come tomorrow. They will deal with the rest of the contents inside the house. It has been a month of sorting and stacking, organizing and removing. Like we did six years ago, when we had to move out of this house for a half of a year, we will move in with Justin’s dad temporarily until our new home, just a mile away from this one, is ready for us to stay. But tonight will be our last night here. Unlike our previous move—when we remodeled—we won’t be coming back.

My friend asks me how I am. Tired. Discombobulated. Grateful. Happy. Sad. In the midst of the upheaval this month, I have been pausing when I can. It might be that I am trying to say good-bye to this home—simply by taking moments to let my heart rest here. To notice the way light casts through a paned window, or stand in the middle of my boys’ room and jar the ladders of their lofts, just to hear again the sound of their feet pounding up and down. But I think it is this too: I am comforted by the realization that this home will never leave me. I have memorized it. It is in my heart now.

When I look out a window, I am seeing more than trees and sky, neighbors walking dogs and parents taking kids to school. I am holding memory. I am both here and not here. I am the mom who held a baby girl in her arms and corralled two little boys to school. I am a baker and builder, a friend and a gatherer. I am a poet and listener, a wife and a daughter. For 16 years this house has held us and we have filled it with story upon story upon story—each moment I take with me. Not one is lost. Not one wasted. Not one left behind.

And I thank you, Lord, for memory that stays deep in our bones. How moments never leave but stay rooted within us. For you are here. Always here. Always now. In the physical and in the spiritual, you tear out our hearts and put them back together again. Within these walls. We can trust in You.

Friend, what is making up the walls of your heart? What memories are within you that will never leave? How can you honor yourself by remembering a moment you lived? Who are you? Who were you? What is different—about you? What has remained the same?

Spend some time thinking, reflecting. Look around you—your physical location—and use that to look within you. What is the connection between the landscape of your exterior reality and your interior reality, where you truly live and imagine and breathe?

I would love to know your thoughts. And I invite you to write a poem—don’t stress, you are simple listening to your heart and documenting what it says. Even if you don’t want to join us for Loop Poetry Project and share your poem with us there, write anyway. I pray, during these moments of listening, you feel loved and seen and known.

In expectation,


The House at 56

She tells me she can see them

the three of them

doing cartwheels on the lawn,

on the patch out front under the window

and hemmed in by a hedge so

if you stood on the sidewalk

you could barely see 

their small heads

and I see it too,

the crinkled smiles of something

more specific than childhood,

little hands in the dirt that wrap

around my neck.

Their bright faces mystify me.

I hear their laughter and

I gulp it down like medicine

like air, like memory,

and I wonder what imprints they

will leave on these walls.

I look out this same front window

and realize my heart has memorized

more than I knew,

how time holds all life,

what feels lost is never gone.

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