Humbling and inspiring

It’s humbling and inspiring when friends appear when they’re needed most. When my daughter and I moved into a new home, almost 20 years ago, after my marriage ended, friends stopped by to check it out.

They looked through the vacant rooms and commented, “It’s a great place, but you need some furniture.” Someone suggested I buy myself a bed, rather than sleeping on the ancient couch I bought from the previous owner for $100.

My next-door neighbor brought over a tiny round end table he’d made in his wood shop as a housewarming gift. His wife later confided, “He looked through your windows and came home with the saddest look. I asked him what was wrong and he replied, ‘That woman and her daughter moved in there without a lick of furniture.'”

A friend’s four year-old gleefully ran from one end of the house to the other, made a circuit through the dining room into the kitchen and back, while his mother suggested a good place to buy a stove. Another brought two house plants and takeout. Yet another suggested I refinish the deck before winter.

I gradually “undecorated” the walls, after another friend noted that the interior reminded her of a dollhouse, with different wallpaper in each room. The foyer had aqua American eagles and opened on one end to a hall with busy floral-striped wallpaper in shades of dusty rose and ecru. One bath had bright yellow faux-brick linoleum and Windex blue fixtures. The other had the same linoleum in shades of avocado, that matched the fixtures. I could go on, ad nauseum, but I won’t.

I hoped to live there forever, but I was forced to leave it behind 10 years ago. I’m not sure my daughter has forgiven me. I know I haven’t forgiven myself. I acted out of fear and that fear has followed me to each new dwelling I’ve occupied since I handed over the keys and tried to forge a new life, yet again.

This time, I won’t repeat my mistake. My friends not only helped me find a new home, they helped me move. “Throw away those boxes after they’re unpacked,” they said.

I fight the fear and follow their advice.


About Jane Wilson

Jane Wilson graduated from the University of Michigan Law School, was a trial attorney for 25 years and has served on the faculty of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy on numerous occasions. She was an Adjunct Professor of Law at Cleveland State University for several years and served as an Interim Associate Professor of Law in the clinical program at Case Law School. In 2009, she returned to the small southwestern Michigan community where she was raised, and wrote a novel.
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12 Responses to Humbling and inspiring

  1. Jane Wilson says:

    I hope you’ll visit, sometime!

  2. When you recognize the source of the fear, you can face it, slowly allowing yourself to let go of those clenched fists. I’ve been facing fear for the last ten years myself. It’s a hard thing to do, but those open palms can receive so many blessings!

  3. Ron. says:

    Settle down & settle in, J.
    If I believed in “should” I’d say “All will be as it should.” But I don’t. All will be as it will. Settle in. Settle.

  4. Sue Glasco says:

    Sometimes fear is appropriate, but I wish you a fearless future in your beautiful new home. Settle as Ron says, and stay in this place of your ancestors with their heirlooms being useful again and ready for future generations to enjoy. It is wonderful that you’ve had friends to help you move!! And it does not sound as if you have to undecorate this time!

  5. Jane Wilson says:

    Sue – No “undecorating” necessary, here. It’s exquisite (except for the blue faux oriental runners on the stairs installed by a previous owner, which are a tripping hazard). I AM settling in and the specters are jubilant.

    Please note – my reference to ghosts is metaphorical. I’m a bit less crazy than most of the town characters!

  6. June says:

    Glad you found a new home

  7. You have a home….because of your friends. What a wonderful thing to be able to claim. Enjoy the new place! ~nan

  8. Jane Wilson says:

    Nan – I’m unsure where I’d be without my friends, but thankfully, I no longer have to worry. Thanks for your kindness and encouragement.

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