A Little Looking Back to Look Forward
Today I had an appointment across town, near where I lived when I was married for the first three years. After the appointment was over I drove by my old townhouse. It still looks dilapidated, as do the other properties in that association. The units still have bars on the windows and doors on the first floor. The asphalt is still crumbling around the complex. The exterior wood siding located on the back side of the units by the parking is still falling apart with paint peeled or peeling. The entryways, which no one really uses, are differing shades of cream or tan. The place still exudes hopelessness because of its look of disrepair. I thought to myself, “How did I live like that?” It felt symbolic of my crumbled marriage, which was unknowingly falling apart before it ever began. I didn’t like living that way, but it was what I had. Prior to us purchasing the place, I should have voiced my opinion more strongly, “I don’t like it here. It’s falling apart, it’s ugly, and it feels unsafe.” But I didn’t. Typical of how I usually operated then, I just went along with it, even though I didn’t like it.
It was good to revisit that place. It’s been almost sixteen years since I lived there, and being there reminded me again that, that chapter of my life has closed. I felt both sadness and relief. The sadness was for what was—what I endured, what I battled, and what could have been but never was. The relief was for the reminder that I am no longer imprisoned; it’s good to be free.
After driving through there I even drove past my childhood home. I haven’t driven by it in many years. The neighborhood I grew up in has significantly changed. The houses look a lot older, and some look really run down. My own childhood home looks quite altered as well. The exterior was redone after my parents moved from there when they were divorcing, and sadly the trees in the front yard are gone. I remembered where different friends lived, where the community pool was once located, and wondered how my immediate neighbors’ houses looked inside. (I could have stopped by because I still know them, but I needed to get home before my daughter was ready to come over.)
All of the looking back at my childhood and the majority of my adulthood encouraged me to look forward. I wonder what God has for me? Where will I live? Who will my husband be? What will my life be like? Will I ever get to the place where I don’t have to work so that I can just write and edit? I don’t have the answer to any of those things, but I know that God does and that He loves me deeply. I know He has plans for my good and to restore the years that have been covered with a locust-type of destruction (Jeremiah 29:11-13 and Joel 2:25-27).