Four years ago, my wife and I made one of the best choices of our lives. This choice was not easy, but it brought about peace. This choice cost us, but it gave us rest and safety. It was an investment that will help shape the future of our family. More importantly, it gives us the opportunity to raise our kids in the environment that we deemed best for them. I am talking about the decision to move to our current home.
Most men want to have a place that they claim for their own. A piece of dirt they can build a safe, and comfortable life on. No matter how primitive or luxurious, a home is a special place. A sacred sanctum of sorts. A home is a place where lives are shaped and formed. We work hard to have a home. It is for this reason (I think) that men pride themselves in their ability to take care of their home. I definitely love doing projects and gain an incredible amount of satisfaction when I check one off the list. The satisfaction isn’t necessarily because there is one less thing to do, although that sure is nice. I believe that the satisfaction comes in knowing that a completed project is now giving my family more. That “more” could be a quality or quantity type thing, but ultimately it adds to the overall goal of what you aim to accomplish in your home.
What are you trying to accomplish in your home?
At a basic level every home needs to provide shelter and safety from the elements. Yet, one could hardly say that this is all that we want to accomplish with a home. My wife and I moved to our current home because there was more outdoor space and a bit more room in the actual house itself. However, what really drove our decision to buy this home was not primarily a physical one (the look of the home), it was driven mostly by an emotional and spiritual reality that came about by the overall aspects of this home. Let me explain.
As human beings we are emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual beings. These elements are always working in unison. You can’t divorce them from one another, it just doesn’t work that way. When we first saw the house (the physical piece) we really didn’t like it. The house was ugly as sin indoors. The 70’s were living there and in no hurry to move out. We are more country chic, farmhouse style folk, and this place is a contemporary style home. We were able to get passed this because of the surroundings, and land (another physical element).
What really pulled us into buying this home were our neighbors. This family is one we have known for a long time and they have become essential to us. Our youngest is their goddaughter. My oldest daughter has known this family since she was six weeks old. My kids have been loved by this family in ways that I will forever be grateful for. They are truly a part of our family. The feeling (emotional) of being next door to them was literally the only reason we considered looking at this home in the first place.
Cost was a concern initially. This mortgage would be $500 extra a month that we were not used to spending. We crunched the numbers and discussed whether this was a rational thing to do (intellectual). The house we were living in at the time was fine, and we had a ridiculously low mortgage. Why would we want to get out of that? Even though the mortgage would stretch us, we felt that this was the right thing to do. Our mind wrestled with it, but ultimately there was a deep sense of peace in making the choice to buy this house. This wasn’t the type of peace you experience when you realize you didn’t leave your keys in the car. This is the type of peace that rests in your soul. That peace that tells you no matter how scary, challenging or crazy something may seem, it…is…right. A spiritual piece is what I would call this.
Taking all that I said above, my wife and I knew that this home would be a place that could help us accomplish the hard work of raising our family. All the ingredients we perceive as necessary were there. We have not regretted the decision once. Our girls love playing outside, especially in the woods. We love seeing deer, birds, and the occasional black bear wondering through the back yard. The girls love walking through the path in the woods to our neighbors house that we cut out to make accessing them easier. During the COVID-19 lock down, we really didn’t feel like we were locked down at all. We just went outside and hung out.
This home of ours is a tool in helping us to accomplish the mission of becoming a holy family. A family that seeks to be, as Matthew Kelly often says, “the best version of ourselves.” This home is not the end itself, but a means to that end. Everyone under this roof is a sinner and has issues. We have idiosyncrasies that make life between these four walls a challenge. There are lots of things outside of our home that also create stress. So having a home that provides a place of calm and peace is essential. I believe that this is why choosing the right home for your family should not be dictated by looks, size and price only.
The location, environment, function and layout of your home will affect the physical, emotional,
spiritual and intellectual aspects of your family. Here are some examples:
As you can see, there are lots of things in play when we try to create a home. For all of us there will be different criteria for selecting a home and that’s the way it should be. I think the most important thing is to make sure that what is most important—what you are trying to accomplish—is at the top of the “must have” list. At the end of the day, that is what will help you become the family you want to be.
Hopefully, my family will have this home for a long time. Ultimately, what we are trying to accomplish here is not having the best contemporary style chic, farmhouse. I am trying to love my wife into heaven, and create little saints out of the adorable savages that are my daughters. I want every person that sets foot into my home to feel welcome, cared for, and known. To experience a little taste of what is true, good, and beautiful on this side of heaven via simple people doing their best in this little piece of dirt I get to call our home.
We are about accomplishing a great work in this home, and that work is called family.