The Houses Where We Live

I have lived in this three bedroom house for two months now. Sometimes it feels like home. Other days I worry how I’m going to make the rent or buy groceries for the week.

Usually, the most relaxing parts of my day are the morning and afternoon walks I take alongside my dog, Finn. I’m a huge Star Wars nerd. Shortly after “The Force Awakens” was released, I was introduced to this little mutt outside Centennial Park in downtown Nashville. The name felt fitting.

I moved to Nashville from Northern Virginia. The winters are strange here, unpredictable from one day to the next. One day, I’ll bundle up in my warmest coat, gloves, and scarf. The next, I’ll wear a short-sleeved shirt.

Finn and I like watching the gentlemen t-off at the golf course down the road. We walk in silence, noting the houses and yards, and feeling the cool air on our bodies. Occasionally, he will see another dog and nearly knock my arm out of socket from pulling on his leash. On these walks, my mind wanders all over the place. I think about my day or the future.

I am a proud sponsor of making lists. I make them for everything—books I’ve read or want to read, places I want to travel, career options, things to buy at the store, etc. I need my lists, not only keep my sanity, but to make sure I am working toward something. I love that sense of accomplishment even in the smallest ways—from the laundry, cleaning, bills, and jobs around the home.

But no matter how much work I put into this old house, I’m constantly thinking about the next thing that needs to be done. The porch needs re-stained, the driveway gravelled, the gutters cleaned, and the backyard landscaping needs work. While missing out on the simple, beautiful fragments of everyday life, I’m thinking about, “What’s next?”

A house is like a life. The older it gets and the more stories it has. As time rolls on, it gets beaten too. A hole here and there. A leaky faucet. A loose door.

I am this house—this small house, a few decades old. It seems insignificant in comparison to the grandness of others but it has charm. It has determination and warmth.

I try my best to make it presentable to whoever may appear at the front door. I patch the holes and I decorate its walls with lights and pictures. But the dirt and the stains appear at the surface. The polished exterior is unmasked illuminating tarnished pieces.

This house and I share a similar story. We have our imperfections and our quirks. But we have much going for us too. Maybe, as it turns out, those three rooms represent a much larger picture.

franklin-house

To maintain a firm foundation, I need to invite God to live here with me. God, in three persons, mends my soul, the cracks, and the corners. He touches all the places I can’t reach, and keeps me warm and dry. He holds me together in one place, completely absorbed in his greatness.

Somehow I don’t feel so alone. I don’t feel the need to have every part of my life to the standard I think it should be or what it’s expected to be. God leads me one day at a time.

When my friends and family join in this place, I don’t hide the mess. There is celebration. There is joy and laughter to be held here. There are no masks. Like the houses we live in, there are stories in the making. We can look at that scratch or tear as a roadblock, or we can see it as part of the journey.

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