Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The House With Nobody In It

My mind was wondering the other day. It does this every so often and I worry one of these days it might “wander” off too far and not come back.  Age has a way of doing that, one day you have the bull by it’s horns, the next day the bull’s chasing you down the road of forgetfulness.  So let me “steer” my way back on track.  Sorry, my Dad is to blame for my sense of humor.

We had some home issues the other day.  Some of them were leftover from Irene pushing its way through our area, and some of them were contractor issue’s never resolved when it was first built.  As I stood in the house while the workman were fixing the problem I had this overwhelming feeling the walls were going to fall down around me, and that led me to reflect on what is the true meaning of home?  A house is more than the brick and stone, ceilings and floors.  A house is an historical map of all those people it has sheltered, and when we move away we leave behind us the persons we were then…the marks on the floor, the prints of our fingers on a doorframe, the whispers and laughter of our voices, and all the things done and said while we lived our lives. Older homes have always called to me more than newer homes, like some distant relative whose voice I’ve never heard, but yet somehow still summons with, "Come meet me. I have much to tell."  Perhaps it’s the notion of all those past lives and how they lived, and did they live well.  Not the, I–have-everything-I-need-or-want well, but the I-have-loved-and-been-loved kind of well.  This reminds me of a poem by Joyce Kilmer called, The House With Nobody In It. Here’s an excerpt from it.

…Now, a new house standing empty, with staring window and door, Looks idle, perhaps, and foolish, like a hat on its block in the store.  But there's nothing mournful about it; it cannot be sad and lone For the lack of something within it that it has never known.
But a house that has done what a house should do, a house that has sheltered life,
That has put its loving wooden arms around a man and his wife,
A house that has echoed a baby's laugh and held up his stumbling feet,
Is the saddest sight, when it's left alone, that ever your eyes could meet.

I think Kilmer speaks to my heart whenever I see an empty neglected home, too.  It’s not just the dilapidated frame that sparks emotions it’s what the uncared for home once held; shouts of children, the laughter of holidays, and the smells of a well-cooked meal. Where did these things go?  Who decided the house was not worthy to care for anymore?  Who was the last person to close the door and never return? Oh, if walls could talk.  There are a few homes near where I live that are in need of some major HGTV TLC.  I keep praying someone, other then myself, will purchase them so the next time I drive by I will see signs of life through the broken panes of glass. 

Empty broken homes are much like a body devoid of the Holy Spirit.  They are without life, meaning, and purpose until Christ moves in, and gives them some T.L.C.  How’s that for a metaphor?  When we are given the Holy Spirit it’s like our insides have been completely white washed, spit and shined, tightened up and lubed.  But just like we have to care for our homes on a regular basis so they don’t fall down around us, so it is necessary to tend to our souls on a regular basis by praying and reading our Bibles. Personally, I find reading my Bible and praying everyday much easier than putting a paintbrush in my hand and saying,  “Paint this wall and don’t drip on anything.”  Like that would ever happen.  Here's praying you won't “close the door” to the Holy Spirit never to return. That would be a sadder sight to see than any broken pane of glass.

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