63: Homeward Bound

63: Homeward Bound

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Count Your Blessings

Homeward Bound

Peace—that was the other name for home.
~Kathleen Norris

The movers pulled out of our driveway. I glanced for the last time at our home of twenty-two years. We’d planned to spend the rest of our lives there, but health issues and financial issues forced us to sell. As we pulled away from the curb, I burst into tears.

Startled, my husband slammed on the brakes. “Karen, what’s wrong?”

“I’ll be fine. Reality just hit home.”

“I know, honey, but you’ve been so strong. Your sudden outburst scared me.”

“I’m okay,” I said, smiling, trying, to look convincing.

As we drove through heavy traffic, I closed my eyes, and my mind flashed back a few months. John had been on disability. He’d been fighting an ear infection that had resulted in severe hearing loss.

Sitting in our doctor’s office, we anxiously waited while he looked at John’s latest audiologist report.

“Good, looks like you’ve gained back some hearing. I think we are finally getting that infection under control.”

“That’s good news. My disability is coming to a close, and I’m retiring for the last time,” John replied.

“You and Karen have worked long and hard for that retirement,” Dr. William said reassuringly

Later that afternoon, John and I sat in our front yard sipping iced tea. I glanced at the “For Sale” sign, and sighed.

John seemed to read my mind and said, “Karen, I think we should back out of selling our home. We don’t really want to live anywhere else.”

“John, we really need to stick to our decision. We’ve sat down with our financial advisor, and he agrees we are doing the right thing. Do you remember what we learned six years ago?”

“Yeah, I remember, the bluebird.”

“Yes, you’d been retired for four years and because I’d been forced to retire early we were struggling. We were talking, and praying, when we noticed the bluebird. We watched as he dug up a peanut, and we marveled at his ingenuity. He’d stored up food for when he needed it.”

“That’s right, and then the phone rang. It was my former employer asking if I wanted to come out of retirement. They needed qualified, experienced supervisors to work on a special project. It was supposed to last nine months, and it lasted five years.”

“John, we need to count our blessings. Because, you went back to work we were able to stay here longer.”

Later, that afternoon, our real estate lady, Trudy, called and said, “I have a beautiful home to show you. It’s a three-bedroom, manufactured home in a beautiful park. The price is right.”

The next day, John and I drove out to the desert community. The clear blue sky against the rolling hills seemed to welcome us. Soon, we pulled into the park. As we parked in front of the home a bluebird landed in a nearby tree. I smiled, and said, “I wonder if that’s the same bluebird?”

John laughed. As we entered the living room, it was love at first sight. I walked through a dream kitchen, and knew I never wanted to leave. John loved the spacious master bedroom, and the family room.

That afternoon, we made an offer. The next day, Trudy called and said, “They’ve accepted your offer.”

“Look at that sunset,” John said, bringing me back to the present. The movers were waiting for us. Two hours later, we sat in our family room staring at boxes. The next day our family showed up and the unpacking began. We were grateful to have the help. As it was, it took a couple of months to settle in.

We started walking every afternoon. Soon we began meeting our neighbors and using the clubhouse and the other facilities. It didn’t take long to fall in love with the beauty that surrounded our park, the peacefulness, and the marvelous sunsets every evening.

Then one Saturday, we went up to Orange County to visit family. Later that evening when John pulled into our driveway, he said, “It’s good to be home.”

I smiled. “Home is where the heart is.”

“That’s right, Karen, as long as we’re together—we are home.”

~Karen Kosman

More stories from our partners