One month ago, I closed on my house, with my parents by my side.
The move the next day was supported by a fleet of friends who showed up in bitter cold weather and just the smallest smattering of snow, which let’s face it, freaks Atlantans out after the way we landed in the national spotlight a couple years ago. With good humor, coffee, and baked goods, we hustled my things out of the old place and onto a truck in less than three hours.
Having grown up in Methodist church parsonages, a couple of which had been recently built when we moved in, I appreciated the way congregations took pride in the homes they kept for their ministers’ families. Although, admittedly, there are many stories that go in between about overbearing, meddling committees, or even negligent ones. My mom and I would often joke about how much we both looked forward to owning our own homes so we could “paint the walls pink and purple polka dots if we wanted to without committee involvement.”
Even before I moved in, I had a vision that I wanted to have a gathering in my new space. More than your average housewarming party, I wanted this event to be special, sacred even. Despite whatever grief I still carry about living in other people’s owned spaces, I always appreciated the commissioning ceremonies for parsonages. Another inspiration came from one of my favorite films, It’s a Wonderful Life.
In this scene where Mary & George Bailey help the Martini’s celebrate moving to their first owned home, the couple blesses them with three gifts to honor the occasion: bread that they may never know hunger, salt that their house would always have flavor, and wine that joy and prosperity reign forever. Simple, elegant, purposeful, and meaningful ~ just like Mary Bailey.
With these thoughts in mind, I asked my friends to help me construct a blessing for the new Chez Crickette exactly one month after I moved in. I wanted to lift up the energies that are important to me or that I wanted to welcome into the space. The friends I invited embody those energies, and each accepted the invitation with simple elegance and meaningful purpose yesterday. The energies represented:
- protection of the natural world
- health & healing
- love & partnership
The ceremony took about an hour and was so heartbreakingly gorgeous it would be hard to explain it in all its splendor. People sang a medley of “friendship songs” to me; there was an interpretive dance. We faced the four directions and listened to descriptions of their qualities. My new neighbors welcomed me to the street. I was challenged to think about the beautiful, terrifying difference my life could be 10 years from now. We communed on bread, salt, oil, sugar, apples, and honey, all of which had meanings in different cultures. Of course I cried, but not too much. I was so full of joy ~ I felt like I was in a dream. “And you were there, and you were there…”
After the ritual was all over, we ate. Not being a great chef, nor of the financial situation to be able to afford to feed that many people, all of my parties are potlucks. I have to tell you, this is not just a financially savvy decision on my part. My friends are amazing cooks. The quinoa, the cake, the tempeh, the artichoke dip, the cheese dip, the chicken pozole soup, the homemade bread with garlic thyme butter. It was all just…a multi-sensory feast.
An aside: as if the ritual itself wasn’t proof enough about how my friends can come through, there were the other little moments such as Owen saying, “This rain may not stop. I think we should put up a tarp. I have one.” And then I turn around to find six people crawling on my trellis and it’s done. Or looking out over the side of the deck to catch 5 people, none of whom know each other in the least, trying to start a fire together with damp wood. Or Kathie D. taking the lighter from my hand and saying, “I’ll light those candles for you so you can get back to hosting.”
Now, I know you’re aching to get to the pictures, so I won’t delay any further. Just know that today I’m feeling humbled, and blessed, and like I’m…at home…really at home. Like I’ve never been before.
So, when are you coming to visit?