The House That Built Me

A few years back most of my siblings and I took “memory lane” and visited the area of our youth. I understand that for many people visiting their past can be painful. Old memories can bring up emotions best left buried under the foundation of their lives. Such is not the case for me. As we visited old schools, playgrounds and neighborhoods, my siblings and I talked of pleasant and endearing experiences. Smiles were abundant as well as stories told that brought laughter and tears of joy to our eyes. Most memorable was the visit to the homes of our youth. One house in particular holds most of my memories as I spent my teenage years growing up in it. As I gazed at the white brick home, my mind was flooded with memories. Along with those memories came back strong feelings, emotions, and lessons learned when I lived there. Reflecting on that moment, I could honestly say that whatever faults and shortcomings I have, they are not a product of what was taught to me in that house. They are a product of mistakes that I have chosen to make.

Country singer Miranda Lambert released a song called “The House that Built Me.” She tells the story of a young woman who goes back to her childhood home in search of strength. Another family lives there now and she knocks on the door of her old home and says to the lady of the house:

“I thought, if I could touch this place or feel it; this brokenness inside of me might start healing. Out here it’s like I’m someone else. I thought that maybe I could find myself. If I could just come in, I swear I’ll leave, won’t take nothing but a memory from the house that built me”

When I heard this song I couldn’t help but remember my own experience. That day I took nothing but a memory from the house that built me. But, it is our memories that help shape and form who we are and who we will become. Those memories can be of great strength in times of adversity, or sadly I am finding out, they can become a hindrance for many. I feel blessed to have wonderful, uplifting and inspiring memories from the house that built me. The desire that my wife and I had, was to provide such a home for our children as they grew up. I hope that someday they will stand outside their past homes and, as they reminisce; uplifting and good feelings will swell in their hearts. I am in hopes that our home has provided for them what my home provided for me; strength, comfort, wisdom and inspiration.

May we build a home that will be “a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of glory and of God…” (D&C 109:16). My greatest wish is that all could come from, and that all of us would build a  house like the house that built me!

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