What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.
~ T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”


The men are laying new vinyl today. “Do you want the seam here… or there?” asks the one in charge.

And I’m thinking, I don’t care. I won’t be living with it. This will no longer my home. I’m losing my sense of home. I’m already separating from it like a dying person begins to separate from the present life.

But I ask what he thinks, and he says if we run the seam east to west, we need to walk across it, but north to south is less obtrusive. I notice that where the old vinyl is lifting (and where I often trip) is running east to west.

“It sounds good to me. You’re the expert,” I say. And I retreat to the sofa, out of the way. This is my now. Jumbled up and torn up. With messes and delays. Interruptions and separation. Decisions and more decisions. Fast food and doughnuts. Grieving and anticipation.

gracetable peonies

Nothing is working seamlessly. This is not the original crew that was to lay the flooring. But the first day was postponed because somebody’s grandfather died. The next day someone quit, and there was a scramble for a backup. Now we need to postpone the carpet installation, and other projects need to be realigned and reassigned. The time clock is running, and I can’t envision what my not yet might look like.

I moved from palm trees to maple trees on a tidal wave of gratitude.
~Christie Purifoy, Roots and Sky

I’m trying not to be jealous of Maplehurst, of Christie’s coming home. Because we are leaving home. We’re leaving our 150-year-old-plus farmhouse, my husband’s childhood home, where he brought me to meet his parents 45 years ago, where we replanted our roots over 25 years ago since moving back to Michigan.

My heart hurt when my inlaws sold this house. Who knew we’d one day redeem it?


We’ve eaten the eggs of Light Brahmas. We’ve raised Lamancha goats and Polish rabbits. We’ve loved Labradors and Havanese, millions of cats—and lots of kids besides our own. I’ve hung clothes on a line, planted a few gardens, pulled not enough weeds, and rocked on the wraparound porch. I’ve seen the sun peek over the rim of the eastern bowl and slide into the west. I’ve gotten tipsy on the fragrance of lilacs and peonies. I’ve watched corn sway, soybeans spread, and wheat ripple. I’ve watched deer in the field and chased a coyote for a photo shoot. I’ve witnessed the changes of autumn, the stillness of winter, the promise of spring, and the harvest of summer. I’ve chased wonder in my yard.

I suppose to chase wonder is to find yourself in unexpected places.
~Christie Purifoy, Roots and Sky

I never expected to leave, and surely never expected to return to Florida where we adopted our first child. But now we’re splitting the family, heading for a whole different lifestyle, a new brand of hospitality–though I don’t know what that will look like. We’re not retiring. My husband has accepted a new position in South Florida and is already gone, leaving me behind to supervise and finish updates we’d already begun prior to this transfer, before we can list the house.

My stomach rumbles with a seasonal collision of change and waiting and seeding and harvest. 

We are leaving maple trees for palm trees.

gracetable maple leaves

My daughter’s home burned last year, a modular situated on our farm, just across the field. We’ve given it away, and it’s being prepped to move. “After a year, they’re tearing apart [and moving] my first home,” she posted on Facebook. “So many memories. I won’t have to look at it any more, but it will be like it never existed.”

Does home still exist even when the physical structure is gone? Does home exist even when we leave the building?

Home is where one starts from. ~T.S. Eliot, “East Coker”

This house, our current home, holds so many memories and so many stories known and unknown, good and bad, within its walls. (By the way, what’s with the hinges on that one stair?) But one day this structure might burn down or blow down. Then does our home still exist?

Maybe home doesn’t hinge on a house. Maybe home is a journey. I know Christie is right when she writes:

He [God] is especially present in the very places we imagine he cannot be. ~ Christie Purifoy, Roots and Sky

I know I will find Him in the palms as well as the maples.

“Abide in me,” Jesus said in John 15. Or as the Message renders it, “Live in me. Make your home in me.”

In my end is my beginning. And I am already home.

gracetable peony4

Sandra Heska-King / Posts / Blog
“Once a nurse, always a nurse,” some say. But these days I care for (and care with) words. I live in Michigan and write from a 150-plus-year-old family farmhouse with a wrap-around porch set on 60 acres surrounded by corn or soybeans or sometimes wheat. I spend way too much money on books, and I find my inner happy when I wander a woodsy trail, sit at a water’s edge, sip a new flavor of tea, or eat M&M’s the proper way— from a crystal dish, one sweet circle at a time. Find me at my blog or on Twitter
  • HisFireFly

    we are in the midst of the same, listing our Canadian home for sale before we return to Africa
    I feel somewhat rootless, floating, trying to remember to breathe

    June 22nd, 2016 8:45
    • Sandra Heska King

      You had rented it out, right, Karen? Now you’re selling? How much longer will you be in Africa? Breathing with you…

      June 22nd, 2016 9:31
  • Patricia

    Beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you. Know that I am holding you in prayer and very much look forward to having you close. xox

    June 22nd, 2016 11:02
    • Sandra Heska King

      Well, that’s one of the things that will make the new digs feel like home! xox

      June 22nd, 2016 11:10
  • Carol J. Garvin

    The longest we’ve lived in one house is twenty years, and that’s in the place where we now reside. We lived in one other for over sixteen years, but there have been several others of relatively short duration. I married a ministry student so I knew from the start that our lives would involve some moves. I’ve learned to differentiate between a house and a home. For me, the former is a building that covers and contains us, while the latter holds the parts of our lives that are important … loved ones, memories, meaningful possessions. But I know the longer we stay in one spot, the harder it is to pull up roots, so can understand, at least in part, how difficult this move must be for you.

    I’m working on a short story that incorporates how I feel in our current place … the sense of place and sanctuary it provides. Finding the right words to express that is turning out to be more difficult than I expected. It’s complex, isn’t it?

    June 22nd, 2016 12:06
    • Sandra Heska King

      I think it’d be a little easier if there weren’t so many years of history in this place. My daughter, though, is staying in Michigan for now and moving into the house her grandparents built on the creek when they moved. And can I say my MIL left skid marks when they moved and didn’t look back? It’s not the easiest house to care for. Mom turned their new garage into a “museum.” Now Abby will become the caretaker for many heirlooms we won’t be taking with us… like the bell from the original centennial house. She says she will be taking things back to grandpa’s garage where they belong. So there’s a sense of peace in that.

      I’m anxious to read your story.

      June 22nd, 2016 12:37
  • Sharon O

    It makes me so sad for you to move, the home sounds so wonderful and full of treasured memories, but maybe, in the new, you can find other ones. Like special ones, refreshing new ones. Not the same as old. But sometimes that is good, and exciting.
    I love the concept of your old farm but being with your husband is better.
    God bless you on your new adventure, together.

    June 22nd, 2016 13:36
    • Sandra Heska King

      It’s definitely bittersweet, Sharon. But there’s also a sense of adventure, of looking forward to a new(er) life. Kind of like getting married and going off on our own. 🙂

      June 22nd, 2016 20:36
  • Traci

    It sounds like a very special place. Allow yourself time to grieve before embracing the good God surely has ahead for you. Loved your imagery here!

    June 22nd, 2016 17:57
    • Sandra Heska King

      Really good advice, Traci. Thank you. I think we do too often skip the grieving. And today Holley Gerth talked about how tears are shaped like seeds, that crying is like planting…

      June 22nd, 2016 20:40
      • Sharon A Gibbs
        Sharon A Gibbs

        Sandra, I love this.
        I have been an onlooker of your journey, and see it’s beauty poured out for all to see.
        Home is where the heart is. Please continue to share your heart and home with us. With love, S

        June 24th, 2016 18:40
        • Sandra Heska King

          Hi, Sharon… You make me smile. Love right back at you. xo

          June 24th, 2016 21:28
  • Elizabeth Marshall

    Sandra, this is one of my favorite pieces of your writing. Exquisite. I am certain it was a bittersweet work of the heart, putting this on paper. I have a heavy heart thinking of you preparing for your move. God bless you in every step, phase, portion of your transition. I hope and pray that you will soon be reunited with your husband and that you will find joy in building a new home in your new town.

    You are on my heart today! Thank you for pouring out your own heart here. Love being in this community with you.

    June 22nd, 2016 17:59
    • Sandra Heska King

      Oh, Elizabeth. I have to admit I’m a little jealous of your new(er) digs, too, and wondering how and if some of my country decor will fit in a “tropical” zone. Such a first world problem, right? I’m also pretty sure this won’t be a long-term settling and that as soon as my husband retires (if ever), my son will have a Two Men and a Truck backed up to our door. So I guess this will actually be more like a longterm honeymoon instead. 😉

      Thank you for your prayers, your love, and I love being in community with you, here and everywhere.

      June 22nd, 2016 20:44
  • Martha Orlando

    Oh, Sandra, your reflections about home are so bittersweet, yet hope is distinctly present. My childhood home, physically, is no longer there where it stood for so many years. I grieved for a time, but knew no home here on earth could substitute to the home we have in Jesus.
    Blessings to you and Dennis as your moving saga continues!

    June 22nd, 2016 18:39
    • Sandra Heska King

      Dear Martha… Some years back, we took a trip back in time. My grandparents’ house where my dad grew up and where I spent many summer weeks is gone. Just an empty lot. Several empty lots. The house where my mom grew up no longer exists. In its place is a funeral home parking lot. All of the homes, however, I’ve ever lived in still stand… except the trailer parked in my grandparents’ yard… and I carry memories, however faded–most only from photos–with me. So I need to look at this as just another stop on my journey home. Hugs to you.

      June 22nd, 2016 20:53
  • SimplyDarlene

    Hugs my friend, and lots of ’em.

    June 23rd, 2016 10:00
    • Sandra Heska King

      I’ll see your hugs, Miss Darlene… and raise you ten.

      June 23rd, 2016 10:29
  • Jerusha Agen

    Beautiful post, Sandra. Thank you for sharing your heart and your grief. And thank you for the reminder that God is our only true home.

    June 23rd, 2016 14:14
    • Sandra Heska King

      Jerusha, how nice to meet you. Thanks for visiting and spending a little time at the table with me.

      June 23rd, 2016 15:01
  • Jody Collins
    Jody Collins

    I just say let’s make it a group hug. If it makes you feel any better, friend, my eyes are full of tears–at your loss but the new life ahead, and your bravery.

    Please let us know when you actually leave so we can pray for the next chapter. Florida is not another state, it’s another planet. (ask me how I know this–I once moved from Southern California to New Orleans Louisiana…. definitely another world.)

    June 23rd, 2016 14:16
    • Sandra Heska King

      No doubt it’s a whole new planet. Yikes. We’ve lived in Tampa before, but where we’re going will be like moving from Venus to Mercury. But I can’t imagine the culture shock moving from SoCal to New Orleans!

      I’d gladly take a group hug.

      June 23rd, 2016 15:05

    Sandra is one of my favorites! Aren’t we all longing for “home?” xo

    June 27th, 2016 16:54
    • Sandra Heska King

      Thanks so much, Susan. And yes. I think we’re programmed for home–but this world isn’t it. 🙂

      June 28th, 2016 14:55

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