I’m getting ready for a road trip, my favorite kind of travel; a little random, sometimes spontaneous, always interesting. Freeing. But as I’m packing the last bits of things into the suitcase I look around. Is the house clean? Is the bed made. Are things put away?
Do you do that? Check out the house before you walk out the door? I do. Every single time. Whether I’m headed for work, a week long trip, or just running to the grocery store. Because you never know if you’re coming back. You never know if someone else will be walking into your home after you’re gone and you wouldn’t want the house to be a mess.
I’ve been this way for ten years. Ever since the summer of 2004 when my mom went off to church and didn’t come home, and then dad went to the airport for a holiday visit and didn’t come home either. Neither of them knew they were leaving home for the last time. I often picture mom picking up her purse, climbing into the car and driving off to town. I picture dad tossing his luggage in the trunk and heading out into the dark morning. I imagine they checked a few things, mom making sure she had her reading glasses because she played the organ at church, dad making sure the thermostat was turned down because he’d be away a week.
Neither of them could possibly imagine that their children would walk back into that house in tears and without them. But I can image it. I know what it’s like to walk into a place that was once someone’s home and is now just the keeper of the memories and the stuff belonging to people we loved. So before I head off on the next adventure I take a quick look around.
Just in case.
Because you never know.