It was April of 2007 and I had just returned home from the hospital with our brand new second son. We were then renting an 800 square foot duplex with next to no yard and had begun toying with the idea of finding a bigger place since the toddler bed and crib pretty much maxed out our second bedroom and we wanted a place for our boys (and any other potential children) to run.
As my mother headed out the door to return home after helping me out for a week, she told me that she would be praying that we would be able to purchase a house soon. I laughed a little at the idea. We really weren’t in a position to do any such thing, but it was nice to dream.
Fast forward just a few weeks to when the hubby came home from work early one day, brimming with excitement. He had something to show me, he said. Something exciting. I headed to the car, but he told me we could just walk so, curious, I loaded up the stroller with my two precious babies and we walked just a block and a half to…. what was it?
It must have been a house at some point- there was kind of a roof after all and some walls in the front, but creeping cautiously through the front door (hanging on one hinge) revealed not so much a house but a roost for what appeared to be all the pigeons of Georgia and Tennessee combined.
I stood there as the flapping of the agitated wings subsided and gaped at the rotted out floor, the caved in roof, the gutted walls filthy with who knows what kinds of filth and then to the inexplicable grin on the hubby’s face.
“What do you think, honey? Pretty great, huh? And we could get it for an absolute steal. But there are several other people who wanna buy it so we would need to act fast.”
It took me a minute to comprehend that he was actually considering purchasing this place- that he thought he could make a home out of it for the wide-eyed toddler clinging to my leg and the tiny, fragile infant I was clutching in my arms.
I’m sure I managed some kind of a “honey, are you kidding me?” response but with the shock of his announcement and the post partum haze I was struggling with, I can’t remember. What I do remember is him saying,
“I know it looks bad (there was probably an eyeroll from me here) but it’s a great piece of property and this house- it has really great bones.”
I don’t remember much that followed. I do remember sitting in an office signing papers and shaking hands with the former owner who had given up trying to renovate the house and was practically giving it away. His look of intense relief seemed ominous to me somehow, as did his fervent “Good Luck with that,” as he hastened out the door.
But we were young, optimistic, the hubby had a good job with lots of potential and of course, he was talented enough to do anything.
Then came 2008. And as you all know if you have followed this blog at all, it went downhill fast from there. But throughout all of our various attempts to complete our home, that phrase has cropped up over and over again from people who have come to help work or just to take a peek.
“Wow, you sure have your work cut out for you here- but this house has great bones.”
There have been times over the years where I have felt like screaming,
“Alright already! I know it has good bones, but I am sick of looking at bones! Can we pretty please put some meat on them?”
And then one day, after years of intense longing and impatience and despair, it happened. The dried up bones were covered up, clothed, transformed into something that resembles a real, living house. And it has happened so quickly that I’m still reeling- still struggling to grasp that this house might actually be a home to us. But I’m slowly being convinced.
As I slowly adjust to the idea of living here, I can’t help but try to picture more fully what it will look like once it’s all done. For instance, yesterday I just couldn’t stand seeing my dining room windows boarded up any more so I just went ahead and took the boards down. (Really, I just kicked them out. I didn’t have a drill to remove the screws but the wood was so rotten that it just fell apart.) It was enormously satisfying. Of course I had to spend the rest of the day on a ladder covering up the holes I had made with plastic so the rain wouldn’t get in, but it was well worth the effort.I can’t describe how gloriously the whole house was flooded with light and how my imagination zoomed forward to many happy feasts in that dining room and kitchen.
So the challenge for 2015 is going to be increased patience. The mere fact that it looks so much more like a house intensifies my desire to escape the confines of the trailer and to move in immediately. But alas, it is still far from inhabitable. There are still no windows, no bathrooms, no electricity, no heat, no kitchen. Everything needs painting and trimming- the floor is a dusty expanse of plywood. And the hubby still has a day job.
In spite of all this, I’ve never before faced a New Year that has so much potential for excitement and change and, well, newness of every kind. Your prayers and support have meant so much to us during this time and we humbly ask that they would continue as we push forwards through this last leg of the journey.
We are now looking at Easter as a possible goal for moving in which would bring our trailer adventure to a full year. But one thing we have learned- you never know what a year (or a month, or even a week) might bring. So overall, we pray that we would live one day of this New Year a time, stepping out in the belief that God holds us and all things in his merciful hands.