12: The Home that Found Us

12: The Home that Found Us

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Home Sweet Home

The Home that Found Us

It is said that when Sedona finds you it paves the way.

~Arizona Folklore

I was notified in late August that the movie theater adjacent to my boutique in Houston was to be torn down and my store would have to close for a month. After a day of indignation I re-centered myself and realized this might be a gift of time… an intervention that I needed since I seemed to be burned out. I had even had a dream earlier that year about a major life change coming, so I talked with my husband Bob, who was already retired, about taking off on an adventure.

Three days later, Bob and I left the big city of Houston for the open road. Camping gear, road maps and high sprits in tow, we made our way westward. Fifteen hundred miles and three weeks later, reaching Flagstaff, our map showed a canyon road circumventing the interstate, passing through a town called Sedona and then reconnecting with the interstate. We could make Phoenix before nightfall.

Five miles into the canyon we were awestruck. We viewed overlooks descending thousands of feet into a sea of towering pines. Bob maneuvered hairpin turns, and as if at a tennis match, our eyes darted from one breathtaking vision to another. We had the windows and sunroof open, and the crisp September air was invigorating. We heard a rushing creek alongside the road. After another twenty miles and a 2,500-foot descent, cacti started to dot the landscape, and red boulders, hundreds of feet high, jutted out of the earth in a landscape reminiscent of a prehistoric playground.

My voice breaking, I said, “Bob… are you thinking?”

“Yes,” he finished my thought. We had been taken over by a mystical sense of belonging.

The late afternoon sun, shining on the stone towers, turned them into glowing, iridescent works of art. Bob pulled into the first business we saw and ask a person where we might find a real estate agent.

I am a spontaneous person but Bob doesn’t like change or surprises. Which is why when I had the dream, a few months before, about the coming of a major change in our lives, I gave him forewarning. He had learned over our time together that when I had a precognition, we could count on it.

At the time, it did not strike either of us as strange that we were spending the afternoon seriously looking at homes.

We returned to Houston and put the wheels in motion to close my business. We researched Sedona homes online and kept re-visiting one in particular.

The following month we returned to Sedona. We arrived the evening before our appointment and decided to find the house we were so charmed by on the Internet. Sitting right at the base of an 850-foot butte, we spotted it. A tear ran down my cheek. Joy, humility, gratitude and a childlike wonder filled me. Turning, I saw tears had formed in Bob’s eyes too. Life had been hard for us, and we knew we were finally home.

We knew we would need three months, at least, to make the transition work. We sure couldn’t pay for two houses.

The next morning I entered the home carrying a video camera, stating at each new room, “This is our entrance hall and… bathroom, etc.” As we continued through the house, everything on our wish list was there — longed for amenities not shown in the pictures online.

We made an offer on the spot, and in two hours it was accepted. The couple had one stipulation, that they be able to lease it back from us for three months. We hugged and laughed.

Back in Houston I had one employee I was concerned about leaving without a job. Coincidentally, she said she had just been given a wonderful opportunity and was thrilled she could take it without leaving me in a bind.

My number one supplier was a major concern. How might my business closing affect her business? Over the years we had become somewhat dependent on one another. I was her biggest wholesale client and she was my main supplier. I called her the day I returned and asked her to lunch. She said she was just going to call me. Over a tasty lunch we laughed hysterically as she related that she and her husband had decided to retire and close the business. It also just happened that my six-year commercial lease would be up in three months.

Everything continued to fall into place in an uncanny way, and three months later we pulled into the driveway of our new home in Sedona. Within five minutes the neighbors were greeting us with well wishes and offers of help. In the second week we were given a “welcome to the neighborhood party.” Within two months we were an integral part of the community.

If you’re not yet convinced, let me tell you of my birthday, four months later. No one in Sedona knew that I had gone through years of therapy for flashbacks, regressions and the debilitating effects of childhood abuse. Childhood birthdays had not been happy occasions for me.

Upon hearing it was my birthday, a neighbor invited the block over for cake. When I arrived a cardboard glittered tiara was placed on my head. Among the balloons and paper streamers, we played pin the tail on the donkey, blew bubbles and drenched each other in water gun fights. Long past my prime, immersed in the childhood antics I missed so long ago, with a lump in my throat and joy in my heart, I blew out my candles. My neighbor doesn’t know how she was so on target — she says the idea of a big child’s party “just came to her.”

And Sedona just came to us. Wrapped and ready.

~Miki Butterworth

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