I think perhaps some backstory to the house building is due. Because if you don’t know the sordid details of this house journey, my epitomes and ponderings might seem melodramatic and self-absorbed. (Maybe they are?!)
We are not building because we want a new and better house. It’s not because we are adventurous. And it isn’t on a life list, a bucket list or even a “yeah, that’d be cool” list for either of us. No, we are building a house because we have to. Because, 10 years ago, in our 24 year-old haste, we bought a house we never should of bought. Single-pane windows, uninsulated floor (no sub-floor either), water pipes that always freeze and shatter. Not to mention too the cosmetic issues. And, yet, these complaints are like free chocolate when compared to the real issue: this house is on a determined trek for the river bottom.
Here, you see the retaining wall and the south-east post of our back deck. Both, clearly, are determined to leave the bank they’re perched on and, instead, reside in the river. This is not desirable for houses. And those single-pane windows that I’ve sealed with plastic every winter, they’re going to shatter one of these years, because of the twisting house frame. This, friends, is why we’re building a house.
When I think about how much stress this place has caused my beloved and I, how many fights and accusations and cutting words have been born of it, how much anger and anxiety and panic and irrationality have swirled around its rooms, how many tears have wet its floors…when I think on these things, there is no shred of joy left in the building process. Only resentment and frustration and a strange wishing for the walls to apologize for all the heartache they’ve caused. But walls don’t talk. And they certainly don’t apologize. And, in some ways, I think this took us by surprise.
Years ago, during a particularly manic time in our journey, a wise friend prayed over us. Not for answers or for signs (though we’ve got those stories too) but simply for “the property to be redeemed.” I remember having grandiose fantasies about how this would look. Truly outrageous ideas.
But it didn’t happen that way.
Instead, quietly, unassumingly, He has paved a way for this new place. At the expense of our time and money and energy and muscle? Yes.
But that’s okay. Because, it is far better to take part in a redemption story than to simply have one happen to you.
And in the meantime, my very mindset is being redeemed. With each course of logs that our new house gains, this house slips further away from me (literally and figuratively). And, in the losing, comes a heightened sense of what has been: two beautiful children, born and raised, more friends and neighbors for meals than we could ever count. Music, laughter, authenticity, hope. So many beautiful things have happened here. These mute walls could attest to it.
Yes, this house has been our home and, even as I write this, I realize this place didn’t need any redemption, my heart did.
And, in His mercy, He has done both.