Light Led Her To Her New Home – And Something More Important

A search of a half dozen homes led to something she didn't expect.
Home Is Where The Light Is


It was the selling point for me.

Five years ago, as hopeful homeseekers ready to make the move from Ohio, we took off an entire day to do a several-house tour with our real estate agent here in Pittsburgh.

I had spent HOURS in the weeks leading into it researching school districts, clicking arrows through interior images and mapping out the distances each home was from my sister’s house. This — all while my husband was clocking extra hours at work on a big project, as I ran my photography business, and we were both preparing our own home to be sold while raising three kids under age 6.

I was also living with debilitating anxiety — and in a pile of denial that I was.

As we went through each part of the process of starting to relocate our family — a dream of mine for years to be able to be back in my home state and closer to my family — every potential bad thing that could happen was haunting me. I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t eating well. I wasn’t happy.

And I hid it from everyone.

And at each house that we toured, I tried to picture six little feet playing within its walls. I imagined entertaining our families and neighbors in the kitchens, watching movies in the living rooms, little sports uniforms hanging up in the laundry rooms and the kids playing wiffle ball with their friends in the backyards.

But I did so with what felt like huge bricks on my lungs and a “worst-case-scenario” voice denying full access to those happy and hopeful ones.

I just kept begging for a sign — ANY sign — that THIS would be the one. That THOSE intrusive thoughts weren’t true and that THIS was the right thing.

But on the fourth or fifth house in, there wasn’t one in sight.

Even as our real estate agent worked on the lock box on the porch of the last house — our by-far, on-paper favorite — I looked around and started to worry that THIS wouldn’t be it, either. I was exhausted, overwhelmed and a little “done” with the day and was convinced this dream was never meant to be. That my sign would never come.

When we finally opened the door, I took a moment of pause at the base of the straight-up steps that ascended in front of me. I looked up, took a deep breath and kicked off my shoes as our real estate agent took a right past the dining room and into the kitchen.

And as I turned the corner to follow her — it hit me.

The light.

That gorgeous, BOOMING, natural light that barreled through the tall windows in the morning room with enough strength to knock the bricks off my chest and silence the anxious voices in my head.

“This,” I thought to myself, “is IT.”

That light. I couldn’t see anything else. It embraced me as I walked closer to the giant set of windows letting it in and watched birds hop from tree to tree and leaves dance quietly in the breeze.

That light. It was my sign.

I didn’t need to see the master bedroom or the basement or the storage space … or evaluate light fixtures and countertop types and bathroom sizes. That light gave me a feeling of peace and serenity that I will never know how to explain, but I just knew.

That light … told me it was going to be OK.

That light… welcomed me home.

And for the last five years, I watch as people walk into this home for the first time and have it hit them the way it hit me that day. For a moment, they just stand in it. And smile in it.  And before they notice anything else about the space, they notice how good it makes them feel.

But unlike the light that’s impossible to miss in my home, I’ve learned that there are moments where I have to intentionally seek it out when I need that feeling of serenity.

When I find myself drowning in the depths of mental health. When intrusive thoughts come in. When the brick layers of anxiety start building their wall on my chest. When I’ve lost my sense of self somewhere in my family’s never-ending schedule. When happy thoughts are left on the other side of struggle’s drawbridge.

I look for it.

In a stranger’s compliment. In a friend’s generosity. In my daughter’s giggle. In stopping long enough to watch a bird take flight. In my therapist’s empathy. In a perfectly made cup of coffee. In a good night’s sleep. In those who see my light and remind me it’s there on the days I forget.

And when I find it?

I stand in it. And smile in it.

And I take it as a sign … that everything is going to be OK.

Categories: BeWell