Annoyed with Renters–And What it Really Means

Lately, my parents have been talking about serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This usually means eighteen months, away from home, serving, teaching, and helping all of God’s children.

The discussion recently has been about what to do with their home while they are away. At first, my youngest sister was going to stay there with her little family, but her husband got a job two hours away, and they did not want to commute that.

So the next option was to let a neighbor boy, who has a young family himself and who actually has a job in their hometown, rent it and live there.

For some reason, I didn’t really love that idea. I knew this kid. He was a good person, and I’m sure he would take care of the place, but the more I thought about him living in the house I grew up in, the more I started to get really annoyed. I didn’t want him going in my room. I didn’t want his children playing with my old toys that my kids play with every time we go. I didn’t want him in my mom’s kitchen or using our bathroom or any other place that was private and our own. Pretty soon, I was all fiery about the idea.

Until I realized I was feeling anger. Do you remember the message in anger? It’s that boundaries have been violated. Well in this case, my boundaries were the physical boundaries to my childhood home (that were being violated as I imagined someone living there).

PROBLEM: I was angry about someone renting my parent’s home–to me, an invasion of our physical boundaries.

It made sense that I was feeling anger. This was a very literal invasion of my boundaries. (Well, it was going to be if it actually happened.)

I asked myself anger’s questions: “What must be restored? What needs to be protected?”

I knew the answer was not that I “needed to protect my home.” Can you imagine how that conversation would go? “No, I do not support you two renting your house out to this person. In fact, not to anyone else either. Yes, I expect it to sit vacant for months and months while you are gone.”

Yeah. A little ridiculous.

Suddenly, I could see that there was nothing that needed protecting, but what needed to be restored, or rather shifted, was my sense of “home.”

I could see that the message to me was that I didn’t need to protect that home anymore. It’s not my space now. It was as if there was a rope tying me to that house, holding me down. And my anger was now telling me: It was time to let go.

So I decided to suggest packing up the toys and putting things in storage, and then I visualized gathering up and collecting all the energy of my life that had settled there. I moved all that energy into the home I’m in now, and I recognized that this home I live in now, is my home. This is the home where my children play, we eat together, we sleep and laugh and cry and yell and sing and fight and grow and learn.

SOLUTION: I asked myself the questions to discover the message anger was trying to give me, and I learned that it was time to let go of that physical land and house as home. I needed to recognize home is where I am now.

It’s not like I’ll never go back to my parent’s house. And I’m not going to try to forget my childhood years and memories there. I love that home. But I now feel like any invisible cords that once tied me down to that location are now severed and I’m a little bit more free from things that hold me back.

Ahhhh. THIS is home sweet home now.

I feel okay about my parents renting their house while they are serving. Even if it doesn’t go to their neighbor friend. I’m okay with it now.

Have you ever felt angry about someone invading your physical boundaries? Maybe even the physical space around you (your “bubble”)? What did you do?

And P.S. Don’t you think it’s interesting how worked up I got about a scenario in my head? None of it had actually happened yet, but the emotion was real! What kinds of emotions get stirred up in you because of scenarios your mind creates???

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