Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Place that Built Me

"The House that Built Me"
(Miranda Lambert)

I know they say you can't go home again.
I just had to come back one last time.
Ma'am I know you don't know me from Adam.
But these handprints on the front steps are mine.
And up those stairs, in that little back bedroom
is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar.
And I bet you didn't know under that live oak
my favorite dog is buried in the yard.

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
this brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here its like I'm someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
If I could just come in I swear I'll leave.
Won't take nothing but a memory
from the house that built me...


You leave home, you move on and you do the best you can.
I got lost in this whole world and forgot who I am.
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
this brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here its like I'm someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
If I could walk around I swear I'll leave.
Won't take nothing but a memory
from the house that built me.

For the past several years, I've had a compelling desire to return to 3 different places.

One place would be: my Grandfather's house in Emory.  My Granddaddy (my momma's daddy) is the only person that I ever witnessed my dad respect.  When he died, I was 13, and a huge part of my heart and my hope died.  He was the man I thought would always be there.  His death changed who I was and totally changed the dynamic of my family. I was beyond devastated and the hardest part was that even though others saw the depth of my grief, I couldn't explain why without feeling as if I were placing them in harm's way.  I refused to attend his funeral.  I couldn't stand the thought of going and having to role-play in the behavior that my dad would expect.  Wayne A. and Keith T. tried so hard to get me to open up but I just couldn't.  I remember the day that Keith took me the cemetery that he thought was the burial place so I could "face the reality".  The reality was that I would have given anything to show my respect to my Granddad but I couldn't on the day of the funeral.  I so wanted someone to take me to the gravesite but that would require asking something from someone and I just couldn't be what I felt like would be a burden.  Traveling to the cemetery in Emory was the 1st "independent drive" I made after getting my licence.  A nice man at the local grocery store showed me how to get there.  That would be the place during my high school years that would become a place of refuge and prayer.  Granddaddy built me, through his life and death, in more ways than I could adequately express.

The 2nd place is David's grave.  I am so drawn to there that it scares me.  I doubt that I will ever go back.  I have this irrational fear of simply laying on the ground and disintegrating---if not physically, may be emotionally.  As I stood under that awning that day and later went back as the men shoveled the dirt, my soul felt crushed and I knew that I would never be the same.  On the day of his burial was the day I realized how much I was longing for death in what I now know is termed "survivor's guilt"----seeing the families of Elaine, Gena, Robert, Scott, Randy, Kyle and the memories of Kelly were simply too much.  Something deep inside me broke that day.  I think the brokenness was necessary but it's not a place that I ever want to be again. The year following David's life no seems so surreal and I THANK GOD that my attempt to end my life was unsuccessful.  I no longer want to die. I want to live and I want to live well.  Brokenness will always be a part of who I am but God is healing me every day and turning those broken parts into blessings.

The 3rd place is Searcy.  That was home.  That was the place where I could freely be me.  I knew that my dad did not the arms to reach into the haven of Harding---the biggest reason I chose there rather than ACU, ETSU or A&M.  I eventually discovered that he did have some "holds" within the community and nearby Memphis but on campus, I was safer than I had ever been.  That is the place that "built me".  Searcy is where I:

  • ...learned that all people are infallible even those with the purest hearts and best intentions.
  • ...realized that I was way too quick to judge others and also my own worst critic and enemy.
  • ...learned that God is watching over me and not in the dictator-style leadership that I had always imagined.
  • ...worship was real and not just meeting an expectation.
  • ...learned that some people could be trusted while also learning that those who "should have been trustworthy due to their job/societal position weren't necessarily trustworthy"
  • ...learned that I could simply be me and be accepted.  Both Kara and Tommy knew me like no one ever had before and few have since.
  • ...I learned how capable my dad was of hurtful and damaging acts.  I wouldn't fully realize the extent of his poison until the year 2000.  I am so very thankful that God did allow me the instinctual knowledge to steer clear of him as much as possible even when I was a very young child.  The amount of lives that he had a hand in destroying still breaks my heart.
  • ...fell in love.  Sadly and regrettably, I destroyed that love with the intention of protection but regardless of intention, damage was done and the damage appears to be irreparable.
  • ...discovered that I was capable of taking care of myself and that my stubbornness could be both an incredible strength and weakness.
  • ...I learned how to 'handle finances'.
  • where I truly learned how to enjoy myself and the people that were a part of my life
  • ...knew, without question, that some men could be trusted.  Thank you Tom M., Hugh G., a coach that I can see so clearly in my mind but his name escapes me(!!) ?Corbin?, and Bill L.  The wisdom of those men allowed me to see the goodness in other men, such as Randy, Keith, and David, that I allowed "in" only just so far.
  • ...thought would be my forever home but it eventually became a place too painful to stay.
  • ...have so many treasured memories that I will never regret though it is also the place of some of my biggest regrets.
I will go back to Searcy this summer.  I'm not sure when or for how long but I know, in my heart, that it will be incredibly therapeutic (though not necessarily easy) to go back and 'find myself' after having truly become so lost.  I can't wait to walk on the campus grass...see the dorm...smell the hay at the camp's horse stables...visit Riverside Park...see a small country church...B-Rock along with walking some trails at both Wyldewood and Harding's camp...going to the city park...the mall in Little Rock...the elementary schools that fired up the passion that had always been a part of my dreams...the movie theater...Walmart...stand inside some of the educational buildings...sit in a swing...chocolate-covered cherry blizzard at DQ...Shoney's hot fudge sundaes...the milkshake place...the truck stop with that good greasy gravy(!!)...the list of "things" is endless.  

I've been pricing cabins in Heber Springs along with hotels and I'm leaning more towards staying in Cabot. It's midway between Searcy and Little Rock.  I'm definitely taking my dog so that has to be considered.  Staying right in Searcy would be great so to have a place to go back to between whatever activities but staying a bit out of the area may be necessary so not to feel so incredibly awkward. Only 4 more weeks of school and prayerfully, all legal matters will be completed.   It is nice to have a trip to look forward to.  

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