by Judy B.
This has been a busy few months. We moved at the end of July to a house under renovation. The boys and I are still sharing a bathroom and didn’t have a kitchen sink until about a week ago. None of the doors have knobs. The garage is full of tile and wallboard and all kinds of rubble. We are digging out of the mess, and are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel–but it has been an all-consuming project.
Interestingly, this move has made me think of my own mortality. It had been a single owner home, and the elderly woman who lived here for 50+ years passed away. This was a house full of memories. While most things had been cleared out, I still found faded pictures in the drawers of kids sledding and climbing trees; small ceramic items with old anniversary dates; yellowed flyers for painters and receipts for furnace checks; and in the attic was a small plastic baby chair, probably from the 60’s. This was a house where a family was raised, grandchildren visited, a father died and then a mother. It probably sounds odd, but I can actually feel the presence of Miss Marilyn, as she was known in the neighborhood, and sometimes when I’m picking out tile or paint, I’ll ask if she approves and decide when I feel a quiet confirmation.
This house will probably be my last too. It has a downstairs bedroom where I can move when I’m 90, and no longer want to climb stairs, and a downstairs bathroom that the tile guys are finishing as I type. This kind of project involves hundreds of decisions, and each time I ask myself whether I will like it for 10 years, 20 years, 30…and God willing, 40.
This move has also made me realize how incredibly lucky I am to have such a house. To have four solid walls in which to sleep. To not worry about the rain or the snow. To have a well-stocked kitchen with running water. And I wonder how, by a roll of the dice, I am here in my comfortable home, with the full expectation that I can live here forever, and not fleeing Syria or Somalia or Burma, leaving behind millions of memories in the rubble. My rubble is by choice. From my dust, everything will emerge shiny and new; from their rubble, dust will harden with the rains, becoming the new landscape.
It’s not fair at the end of the day. I did little to deserve this, nor did the people around the globe who have no place to call home.
Creator, let those with enough share with those who have little. Let us open our hearts and doors to offer refuge to others. Let us become more generous and welcoming, as those are the true riches of life.