The words blew through me, warm and strong, as I sat in Shabbat morning services this past Saturday. I'm not so sure what it is about our new synagogue in White Plains, but it is there that I always think these kinds of things.
It was, admittedly, our first time there in quite awhile. We both work full time, and by Friday night we are completely exhausted. We tend to go to bed early, and sleep really late on Saturday morning before commencing our Saturday morning routine. We don't often wake up early enough to make it to services, and when we do, we usually prefer to relax our way through the day, rather than deal with dresses and heels and makeup and suits and ties.
But this past weekend we were there. Since we moved a little more than six months ago, some friends of ours had been considering White Plains as well. They live in apartments now, and are almost ready to choose a community and settle down. Since I really want them to choose our community, and settle down as close to my house as humanly possible, they came and stayed with us for the weekend to check out the town, the synagogue and the people. To decide if maybe White Plains could be the place for them.
And for twenty-four hours, I saw our new city, our new home, through their eyes.
It is easy for me to get caught up in the daily minutia that comes with owning a house and working somewhere other than where I live. All kinds of things, both big and small, are different today than they were six months ago. Since we moved we've had dripping pipes, exploding pipes, a leaky washing machine, a yard sorely in need of maintenance, and a clogged bathroom drain. I've had to find a new running route and a new place to get a manicure. I've had to adjust to getting up an hour earlier than I did when I lived in the city, and make the switch from a 15 minute commute to one that takes the best part of an hour.
There are some really, really wonderful things about our new home too, but it's occasionally hard to see the forest for the trees.
But this past weekend, I did.
This past weekend, I was more appreciative than ever that we own a house that can hold four extra adults and two little kids and not feel cramped. I was thankful that we have made really good new friends in our neighborhood who we were able to introduce our old friends to. I was proud that we have become part of a community that warmly welcomed our friends into the fold. I was happy that we have learned the streets well enough to show everyone around, and help them decide what neighborhood would be best for them.
It's no secret to anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis that moving was not the easiest thing for me. It was harder than I ever expected to leave Manhattan, and a little scary to own something bigger and far more expensive than just clothes and shoes. Something that needs tending and love and maintenance and care.
For the first couple of months I had flashes of contentment. Ephemeral moments where I felt warm and happy and secure in our new place. but those moments were almost always followed by anxiety over the newness of it all.
But lately, that contentment comes stronger and more often. I feel it when I run my now-beloved Bronx River Pathway. I feel it when I see a familiar face in the grocery store. I feel it when we work on our house and I feel it when I drive the now-familiar streets of our neighborhood. And this past weekend, I felt it when I was able to welcome old friends into our new life. A life that we are building for ourselves, slowly but surely, and one step at a time.
Not every day is good, but there are certainly more good days than bad. More days where I am warm and happy and secure. More days when I am able to say, with absolute certainty, this is our home.