This I Believe

Emily - Knoxville,, Tennessee
Entered on May 2, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I Believe in Living Room Bonding

I am an artist. My mind is a gallery of images. Sometimes these pictures transform from beautiful thoughts into oil paintings and graphite drawings. Throughout my art are a few underlying themes. I have recently come to recognize three of these subtle threads that continually reappear in the tapestry of my compositions as family, light and the living room.

My family is very close. My mother has made a conscious effort to make our home a refuge. She has always told me that, “the woman sets the tone of the home.” Our home is a place of peace. It is a shelter on stormy nights no matter how torrential or overwhelming circumstances may seem. The room that embodies these ideas the most is the living room. As my brother and I grew older and our curfew was extended beyond my parents’ bedtime, my mom always left the lamp on low in the living room. Now when I crest the top of our hill and descend towards the driveway at 1:00 a.m. the lamp welcomes me home with a quiet and gentle glow.

For the past several years, on Sunday afternoons, my family has gathered in the living room after lunch to review the past week and share our lives with each other. After everyone has had their say, my dad will often kick back in the red chair and enjoy a good book. Oftentimes, Joshua will drift off to sleep and I take advantage of a still model and draw. These Sunday afternoons may seem mellow and even boring to an outsider, but for me this living room bonding is a precious time that is quickly coming to an end.

My brother, Joshua, is graduating in a week from the University of Tennessee. He is flying to Mozambique in a month and will spend his entire summer there. Afterwards, my best friend will be flying directly to Chicago to begin seminary. I am also beginning a new phase of my life with the completion of high school and the start of college. My family is moving in different directions, and although home will always be there, where we live may not be our home.

I’ve spent the past few weeks grieving over the end of a very sweet time with my family. Once my heart recovers form the loss of living room bonding, I will look forward to all that life has to offer me and the members of my family. However, I will treasure the rare moments we spend together in the living room most, because it is the place where a light is always on and someone is usually waiting for me to come home.