Beautiful House, Ugly Home

I recently moved into a new house. What a journey it has been from the initial far-fetched dream to this new reality.

Buying a house has not been the hardest transition in life. Yet, it has certainly brought about significant challenges. Pair that with a marriage tested with one of the hardest challenges of having a kid, then we certainly have one messy recipe.

It has been about three weeks after moving to the new house. There were various reasons for the move, but it was definitely the right decision. The house is absolutely beautiful. The real estate agent said she typically does not desire the houses she shows her clients, but this one really stood out. The inspection agent said that this house falls under the 2% of houses that have hardly any issues considering it is five years old. It is truly a beautiful house.

But what good is a beautiful house, if it is not a beautiful home?

The family that moved in seems like any “ordinary” family. Perhaps that is exactly the problem. We are an ordinary family in the sense of broken mediocrity.

My wife and I have been through one of the hardest years of our lives in 2019. Our beautiful daughter was born in 2018. The following year we had many transitions — motherhood to full-time job; father and full-time student to full-time caregiver. Becoming parents alone is a hard enough transition. Being a primary caregiver as a father is a whole other challenge. Through the transitions, identities were shaken, communication was broken, and “vicious cycles” partaken.

We knew there would be necessary adjustments after having a child. We knew that extra work was needed. Thus, we “tried” to make things better. But then, the dream of the house, communality, and family, took priority.

And now, we have a beautiful house, and an ugly home.

Is it really worth coveting anything that seems beautiful on the outside, but is decaying on the inside? House, car, job, marriage, family, spirituality, friendships, insert whatever.

Perhaps going from a one-bedroom apartment with three adults and one toddler, to a four-bedroom, 2500 square foot house, gives you more space to be in separate rooms to write reflections “in peace” after having another tiff with one another. At the end of the day, all the space in the world will not mend any deeper brokenness that festers in a broken home. It is easy to repair things around the house, build beautiful dining tables, clean and organize so that everything appears to be in order. It is inexplicably harder to repair stonewalled hearts, scars from spoken and unspoken words, or a dull apathy that slowly settles downs as the new norm.

But f*** all that.

As my contrarian self and pursuit to live an extraordinarily ordinary life, here is my stake in the ground to turn an ugly home, to match the beautiful house. I thought it wasn’t worth fighting for anymore, I probably will feel that way at times in the future, but I know this beautiful house will not last, no matter how hard I try to maintain it, if it is not coupled with a beautiful home.

So, let’s go back inside.