Saturday, April 16, 2011
I'm sitting in the little nook in the kitchen, the desk I sit at to pay bills, send
emails, stare out the window. I'm staring at the tree I always stare at, the oak that is slowly dying, the one that caused so many hours of manual labor this spring because it dumped all it's leaves in my yard. I watch for the family of squirrels that lives in it, the ones that every now and then actually come sit on my nook window sill. They make me laugh, the chasing round and round the tree.
But today I look past the tree at the abandoned house next door. (shown in the first picture of our house) It's such an eyesore that I try very hard to forget it's there. It's literally about 10 feet behind the tree that I watch, but I never look at it. Funny how you can train yourself to forget something is right in front of you. Anyhow, today I look at the house. That house was probably amazing in it's day. It's a big old two story colonial with a huge porch that our new friends Eric and Marion are fixing up to live in with their little daughter, Valerie. It's taking them a very long time to do, it just needs SO much work.
But today I wonder what happened in that house. What lives were led there? Someone loved in that house, someone cried there. There must have been meals cooked, and company over, and babies born and deaths experienced. A house tells a story and I wonder what story that house would tell? How does a house go from being something that someone lovingly built and cherished to so dilapidated that it takes months just to make livable?
The house we live in was once like that one, I've been told. Mr. Ronnie, the neighbor down the street who has lived here 15 years and I know has spent almost 99% of that sitting outside on the corner, told me that an old couple lived here for a long time. He said they had lived here forever together and one day the woman died and then a few months later the man died. The story goes that the kids didn't care for the house or really the stuff in it, so one day someone hauled all the stuff out to the corner and then they sold it to a rental agency. How sad is that?
I like to imagine this sweet old couple living in this old colonial. I like to imagine them sitting in their old recliners holding hands and watching the evening news. I imagine her doing the dishes in my sink and him sitting reading a book in my dining room. I imagine that once years ago there was the sound of other children running through this house. Maybe even grandchildren.
I feel the same about the intricately stitched "Amazing Grace" hymn cross stitch sampler that hangs on the wall in my bedroom. My mother-in-law found it at a garage sale. It took someone hours upon hours to put this hymn into stitch, and then it ended up for a dollar in a garage sale. Why do we not value things anymore?
Everything seems so disposable now. Starter homes, starter marriages, electronics that are outdated almost immediately, it just seems like no one is satisfied anymore with what they have. No one cultivates, waits, lovingly tends to.
The older I get the more I am drawn to words like "simplify". With culture surging ahead at break-neck speed I slow down and want to read a book with some coffee and forget television exists. I want to take all electronics away from my children and remind them to play in the dirt and read good books. I fear sometimes for the depth of my children's future relationship with the Lord if they never learn to wait patiently for things, that everything doesn't come in an instant like on the ipad. That sometimes the best things in life come slowly, over an entire lifetime.
Just some thoughts swirling in my head. I wonder if she ever sat at this nook and pondered the house next door. I'm sure it wasn't with laptop in hand, but maybe a pen and paper as she wrote a friend a letter. I imagine flowered paper and a cup of coffee as she waved at the lady making supper next door. Because neighbors used to wave at each other.