Tuesday, June 09, 2009

What Makes A House A Home?

Seven days from now, we move to Liverpool.
Jo and I have been married for 12 years. For the first six years, we lived in one house. We are about to relocate for the sixth time in six years. That’s two markedly different seasons of life!

1996-2002: Crookesmoor, Sheffield, UK
Our first home, a little two-up, two-down end-terrace house, sharing a rear yard with three other houses. Tiny – but we still had a succession of lodgers. To this day we have friends who shared our yard or the next yard down at the time. We bought the house to start married life in: three days before our wedding it was burgled, almost certainly by someone from the tower-blocks further down the road, with a drug habit to feed. Before we moved out, Susannah had joined us, and Noah was on the way: more space required...

2002-2005: Hillsborough, Sheffield, UK
A terrace house on three floors, on a cul-de-sac behind the shops, overlooking the park. Secure back garden. Great neighbourhood – even if a lad out to celebrate turning 18 did get beaten into a coma by the locals of the pub on the corner – undergoing significant social transition. Noah was born in the dining room of this house. Before we moved on – a move we hadn’t expected at the time God’s call came - we’d been joined in the area by a number of friends...

2005: Perth, Western Australia
I’m counting this as one big move, but within that we stayed at more addresses than I can remember! Three months with the world between us and where we’d come from. An up-side-down time: God putting together our past and our future, in a present-moment that was both absolutely right and incredibly hard. Again, we made friends we still keep in touch with. When we returned, we smuggled Elijah into the UK, smaller than a grain of rice...

2006: Broomhill, Sheffield, UK
Homeless, but with a tentative direction ahead, we stayed in an annex flat connected to the house of friends through the back of a wardrobe (aka Narnia). From this address, Susannah started school...

2006-2007: Crookes, Sheffield, UK
Another terraced house, this time rented, on three floors (attic conversions are common in Sheffield) but smaller than our house in Hillsborough. This one never really felt like a home: we didn’t own it, and were only there for as long as it took to go through the selection process for ordained ministry within the Church of England; Jo was in the pregnancy/small baby stage, and I worked two very part-time jobs. But on the plus-side, Elijah was born in the kitchen, and we had good friends just along the street (who are coming to my ordination)...

2007-2009: Bramcote, Nottingham, UK

A two-floor semi-detached house, on a quiet square, gardens at front (open) and back (secure). Open-L-plan living/dining room spaces, very light. Off-road parking: a novelty after all those years in Sheffield. Too far from any shops for ‘just popping out to the shops’ on foot. School just around the corner. Noah started school, did (just short of) two academic years. Here for twenty-two months, while I have been an ordinand at St John’s College. Again, we came here ‘in order to leave’ – but this time, so did everybody else. Again, we’ve made some good friends here, some of whom left last summer, some of whom leave as we do...

2009-...: Clubmoor, Liverpool, UK

A two-floor semi-detached house – with a ground-floor extension currently being built on the back. Garden at the back. School just around the corner. The neighbourhood is an estate in an Urban Priority Area. I’m going to be the curate at St Andrew’s, a post that will last between 3.5-4 years. Elijah will start school next year (and that will free Jo up for...?). Susannah will probably have completed a year of secondary education by the time we move again...
This house, too, will be our home.
I am very aware that the stories of several of the people who read this blog are woven into this story, that our story is woven into yours. Thank you for your encouragement along the Way.

1 comment:

  1. The Askews have loved being part of your story.

    God's blessings in your new home.