I’m a house person. I love them. I love people who can create warm and welcoming environments where lively conversation happens and memories are made.
I love snooping around houses on the “Parade of Homes” tour in the spring and fall. And by that I mean coveting and taking pictures and pretending someday I’ll actually have the money to create similarly lovely rooms.
But I’m also critical (as if I had a design degree, which I don’t).
The problem, in my mind, is that most houses are too divided up.
John says I never saw a wall I didn’t want to knock down. And we’ve knocked down a wall or two in homes that we’ve owned. These were messy propositions and the process left us feeling uncomfortable and unsettled.
For one season the microwave was in the study and there was a 4 ft. square hole in the floor of the family room that I stepped through, almost ending up in the basement. A tad disconcerting.
This is a house I ride by on most days. They’ve been working on it for what seems like at least 37 years. First I watched them demolish the previous house. Then cart off the rubble. Then excavate and dig and pour a foundation and slowly, slowly begin to re-build.
If I were the owners I’d be going crazy. I’d be so ready to settle for the quick version. A little less attention to detail.
When I ride by I think of this quote by C.S. Lewis:
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house.
At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to?
The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.
You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
I’ve realized lately that there are some walls in my life that I’ve made load-bearing that weren’t meant to be. And by that I mean some relationships. I’ve expected them to bear the weight that only Jesus is meant to bear.
And they’ve come crashing down.
In His knocking about, Jesus has removed some relational supports that I really valued. More than I should, perhaps. Load-bearing walls that I was depending on too much to give me worth, identity…
Like a tiny hypnotic voice we’re not really conscious of, the whisper sometimes goes: “If this person who’s talented, or hip, wise, or influential or popular values my friendship, or wants to date little ol’ me, then maybe I’m just all that too! Maybe I’m actually more talented or hip, or wise, or influential, or popular than I feared. I really am ok!”
And if we actually were aware of it, or heard it out loud we might say “That’s the stupidest thing I ever heard!”
But it’s subtle.
And then the demolition process feels kind of like stepping on an old barn ladder rung and having it snap. All of a sudden you’re left hanging by one hand and the shock is a little scary and anger- producing and you’re thinking, “What just happened??”
But God whispers, “That friendship wasn’t meant to hold all your weight. And it wasn’t meant to define your worth. Only I am. And I think you’re spectacular. No matter what. And your house is gonna be a lot more beautiful when I’m done with it.”
Can you relate? Is God “knocking about” in your “house”?