Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Who are "we"?

"We've had the inspection and appraisal, so hopefully we can close in the next few weeks!" I said this at work today to someone who inquired about my current home purchase. Even as I spoke, however, I was thinking, "Why do I always say 'we'?"

No matter who I'm talking to about this house, I have noticed that I use the plural pronoun to describe the process.  You might think that by "we" I mean myself and the sellers, or perhaps myself and my Realtor, but I have heard myself say "we" when referring to a decision I and I alone have made.

So who are "we"?

In part, "we" are all the people who have helped me with the practical aspects of this project: my mother, who enthusiastically scoured listings for houses I might like; my friend (and soon-to-be neighbor) Grace, who spent a Saturday morning visiting properties with me; my house-builder friend, Randy, who lent his professional eye to the house before I made my official offer; my friends Emily and Jenn who gave me questions to ask and ideas to consider.

And certainly, "we" are guests for so many promised or possible friends: students who can come for a quiet place to study; faraway friends from Texas, Indiana, or Tennessee, relatives who will gather in the summer, or at Thanksgiving.

I cannot help believing, however that "we" includes more hearts and faces than I can yet name. When I imagine this house, I seem to hear voices in all the rooms. Who might they be? A companion, one who rents a room and says a prayer with me, breaking bread and taking evening walks? A husband humming in the kitchen? Children, adopted or born, laughing under the live oak tree? Students yet-to-come singing hymns in the dining room? These are not voices I remember, but voices I hope to hear.

For some weeks I have been speaking of this unknown plurality only half-consciously, but even after recognizing the habit, I don't think I'll stop. I am thankful for the stability and resources that enable me to buy a house on my own, but as in all good things, I don't really want to do it alone. So as long as anyone asks, I know my answer:

"We're buying a house. We're making a home."


  1. My heart leaps with joy for all that's yet to be! :) I can't wait to bring my family down for a visit and be a part of the we. :)

    1. Oh PLEASE do! You have been and will always be part of my "we"!

  2. I think you're right. It's not you-and-the-realtors and it's not you-and-the-helpful. That's way too literal. I think houses hold a place in our psyche, grounded in thousands of years of broken bread and shared blood, that tells us deeply that Home is the belonging place of Community, that a house is connected to a we.

    1. "....broken bread and shared blood...."

  3. Happy to be a part of the "we"! I can't wait to come visit...

  4. I, along with all the others, am so glad to be a part of the "we." Grant and I can't wait to come visit. He's been planning "The Kemper's tour of Dixie," have I told you?

    Using "we" instead of "I" here is the perfect opposite of most situations where "we" created something together, but an "I" got credit. This is much better.