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Gathering In

In a few weeks, we’ll say goodbye to our house in Tennessee.

We bought it back in 2005 after selling our bungalow in Chicago for more money than we could imagine. It was the height of the real estate market, just before the bubble burst. We decided to slow down our lives a little. The kids were small and we felt like the city was closing in on us. The place in Tennessee gave them room to run, gave us space to just spread out and breathe a bit. We needed that. Even as we gained the space, we were gathering ourselves in, circling the wagons.

A few years later, we moved back in Chicago. We missed the city and we needed the structure the city offered. We also needed a closer community of friends and family. It was tough to leave the wilderness and the wondrous fabric of new friends we made there. I miss my lovely Nashville and Franklin folks every single day. But it was time to leave the wilderness and go back to the world.

We tried to sell the place, but remember we bought it at the height of the real estate market, before the bubble burst. We were a bit underwater so it just sat on the market and got little attention.

It ended up being a gift of sorts to have the place there while we lived in Chicago. It gave us some income from the vacation rentals we got throughout the year. It offered us a place to reconnect with the green open spaces we were missing in Chicago. I edited my first two books there while we visited over the winter holidays. Having the house there when we wanted it allowed us to keep in touch with our lovely Nashville and Franklin folk, who we still miss every single day.

But now, we’re at a new point in our lives, with kids getting older, holiday schedules never quite lining up, expenses mounting and incomes shrinking. We couldn’t give the property the attention it needed when it needed it. We couldn’t keep one foot in Tennessee and one in Illinois. It was too long a stretch to maintain. So, we decided let it go.

We’re gathering in again. We are too much scattered among wildernesses and city living and parenting and vocation. We’re gathering in.

And it’s hard to let go.

And it’s a relief too. It happens that way sometimes, doesn’t it?