On My Way Home
As I write this, I'm taking a break from packing all the things I unpacked 9 months ago when I moved back to Sunbury. A huge, unexpected shift happened in my life and at 42 years of age, I found myself living again with my parents. Not exactly what I had planned for my life. I felt embarrassed. I could imagine what my peers were thinking, all the preconceived notions of what it is to be a man who has to move back in with his folks. You may picture a pantsless, overweight dude with an unkempt beard, tinted glasses and a t-shirt stained with the ingredients of his microwaved burrito, arguing over the internet about any and all subjects.
At least that's what I pictured.
But I received nothing but support from my family and friends. It didn't take long for me to realize that I would be entering a new and exciting time of my life. I had found myself in a renewed and amazing relationship with my folks. One that was based on friendship and mutual respect. I wasn't the kid that was annoyed at them for raising me, telling me to do this and that, I was the man they raised who came alongside them and worked to maintain Oather's Legacy Farm. I was the product of their hard work, care and love who's instilled work ethic, care for others and determination that was now working shoulder to shoulder with them.
Along with my children, who I have every other week, I was able to to slow down and reconnect with who I am. As funny as it may sound, just being able to sit with them and watch whatever crazy TV show or movies they're into was so enjoyable. In the past years, I had done nothing but go to work and try to be a provider, working as much as I could in order to just stay afloat. Years ago, I had been a musician, a writer, done comedy, really anything to get my creative juices flowing. That had all but disappeared from my life. In the still and quiet of living in the country I started to feel inspired. Inspired to create and inspired to go back to the gifts that God gave me. I took up woodworking, I wrote an album's worth of music and I started to go out on dates.
I don't recommend online dating. In fact, the first date I went on ended up with the girl saying she wished I was taller and better looking. Certainly an auspicious start, but I ended up going out with probably about 10 girls or so, but they seemed too much like job interviews rather than relationships. On the 1st of November, I went to see a friend from work's cover band and ran into Shannon. I work at a hospital and have known the nurses there for years, but never entertained the thought of dating one. That night, however, Shannon and I just clicked and the next night we went on our first official date. This one didn't seem like a job interview, but more like two friends who wanted to know each other more. How refreshing.
I don't need to write about every detail. Just know that it became swiftly apparent to Shannon and I that we wanted to be together. We compliment each other so well and each time we were together, we didn't want it to end. Still feels this way today. Long story short, we won't have to wait as we have purchased a house and will be joining our two families together (she has two kids of her own). I am so excited for this new chapter of my life, but can't help but feel a little bittersweet. These last nine months with my parents helping me through the most difficult time in my life leaves me a little sad that it is ending. Words can't do justice to the gratitude and love I have for them.
But here it goes anyway.
To my parents: You both have dedicated your lives for the service of others In both your individual and collective capacities, you have made it your mission to care for others. Many times you have opened your home to people in need and, although often feeling the effects of doing so, continue to share your generosity and love to others. In order to accommodate me, as well as Evan and Cecelia, you let me transform your dining room into a bedroom with no hesitation. Dad lost his man cave so Evan could move into it. The selflessness of you two has not only been an inspiration, but it has been the guidepost for me and my children in how we should purposefully love each other. I can’t thank you enough for your friendship and love over the last nine months.
To Mom: One of the most creative and intuitive people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. When I was down in the dumps or not feeling confident, you would assure me of a brighter future and help me believe in myself. Your advice and counsel during a difficult period in my life gave me hope and confidence. Getting to share a little bit of the business aspect of the farm was actually quite fun, although not as enjoyable as helping new goats enter the world. Watching you take pride in the products you have created was inspiring and knowing that others get to enjoy and benefit from your creations makes the effort well worth it.
To Dad: Whether it is helping put up fencing, fixing a door, installing walls or digging holes, doing it with you made it easy. Not physically, but internally. When I would work alongside you it just felt right, like we were partners. If it was getting hay or feed or a trip to the hardware store, just knowing I was shouldering some of the physical labor for you made me feel not only useful, but important. You valued my input and shared your tips and tricks. Having a beer with you at the end of the day and watching a little Barnwood Builders or Holmes and Holmes was some of the times I’ll most fondly remember. Even though not many words get exchanged during these times, just two hardworking dudes drinking a beer and sharing a moment was times I’ll always cherish. Also, quoting the commercials that the DYI Network would play incessantly was fun.
So this is my goodbye to the farm. A place I used to casually visit, a couple hours every month or two, that became my home and place I fell in love with. A few months after moving in and fiddling with my guitar on the back porch, I wrote a song called “On My Way Home”. It literally only took me 5 minutes to write but after doing a rough recording of it and sharing it with a trusted friend, was told it was the best thing I’d ever written. I don’t know about that, but the song was inspired by my gratitude about being back home and finding myself after not being so for a long time. If you’d like, here is a link to the song.
Thank you all for everything.