Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Living Water

Today I have the honor of being a guest at the blog-home of Diane Bailey. 

When I met Diane last year at Jumping Tandem, I watched her capture people and beauty with her camera, making women feel welcomed and loved.  Diane doesn't just write pretty words, she lives the love she talks about. So grateful to be writing at her place today.  




















Water rushes from the fountain and cascades into a clear pool. Lounging on the sandy shores are attractive people surrounding one woman. She holds a mirror, gazing at her flawless skin and charming face framed with wispy curls of blonde hair. The photo is part of an advertisement claiming their product reverses aging effects and helps customers, “grow younger and live stronger.” Reputable companies and respected doctors have mantras such as: “Turn back the clock!” “Drop a decade off your face!” “Cheat the years!” Shelves are lined with products and promises to reverse the aging process using miraculous serums with new and improved ingredients. And sometimes, this Jesus-loving woman, and her Jesus-loving friends buy into the hype of the world with its answers for our insatiable quest for beauty, youth and the things that come with it.











Monday, October 27, 2014

Removing The Layers


Last week was one of those weeks.


The kind of week that begins bright and early running out the door with the dog nonchalantly throwing up on my favorite shoe, just as I was slipping my foot into it.

Yes, that did happen.



The dog never throws up, but there were plenty of reasons for her to be out of sorts I suppose.

Our life is sort of out-of-sorts.  In fact if you were to drop-in you may agree that things here are nearly at the complete chaos level. 

Earlier this year our home was hit by large hail stones.

It was like watching a slow motion scene unfold. The sky was clear with deep blue hues, one hot afternoon. I was home, and just happened to be looking out the double wide glass door that faces east, when as a small cloud gathered overhead. I stepped out on the back porch and took a few pictures as this harmless appearing cloud, began to swell up with ominous dark bellows.

Still, I was honestly surprised that this small mass of moisture began to produce colossal ice missiles a little smaller than baseballs that sounded more like bowling balls being hurled at our home. Once the storm had passed over the house, the winds changed and it came back around from the other direction and pounded us with even more intensity on the second pass.  When it moved out, our yard had visible divots and was now covered with in a blanket of white ice balls. The damage to our home was extensive.

It totaled the roof, broke windows, damaged siding, gutters and soffits.  There was more, but you get the idea.

Fast forward to, now. 

The now, with the dog and my favorite shoes. And trust me, you need shoes to walk outside because of all the nails and shards of metal.

The details have been worked out and the contractors are on the scene and all the layers that make a house a home have been stripped away and hauled off to the landfill.

When it was all peeled back, we uncovered all sorts of problems that had been hidden for years.

Issues that someone long ago hid, and that time had further corrupted.

It has gotten more complicated and messy than we had anticipated. (And we had anticipated it would be messy and complicated.)

The outside of our home is exposed down to bare wood and the inside has been stripped out as well because that is how it is when change comes. True change always happens from the inside out.

And this morning, the wind is howling and slapping loose ends of house wrap against roughed in windows and there is little to stop the cutting wind from seeping through every crack.

We are going for an all new look. Part of that currently includes fly strips.  I've distracted myself for day smashing flies that seem to have a radar for any opening. We even went to the store to purchase more flyswatters, so we could have one in every room. One for every person who might enter this place.

My disdain for flies has increased after my daughter reminded me of when she worked for the University for several summers helping to track flies. People actually get paid to breed files, paint their little wings and track their patterns. There is a story there that no one probably wants to read about. She pointed out that her job included examining flies under a microscope and how many parasites are surprisingly on the common house fly.

That information wasn't really helpful.

In fact it may have raised my anxiety level a few decimals.

So, fly strips hang until further notice and if you come here you may be handed your own fly-swatter.

This process has reminded me how fragile our lives and possessions really are.

One small cloud pops up on the horizon and alters your life for months. And that is the good news. This house and its contents are not the things that are most valuable in my world. Also we are honestly thankful that this has been an opportunity, disgusting flies aside, to find the deeper hidden problems this existing structure had, so that we could address them.

That right there will teach friends.

Just because we can put on a few layers over the underlying problems, things will continue to slowly eroding in our lives. Ignoring the problems will not fix them, or us. 

The process of stripping away the layers, makes us feel a bit vulnerable and exposed. However, the benefits of dealing with deep seated problems are long reaching friends.

And I was thinking how during the ugly process I don’t really want my friends to enter into the mess and that after all this chaos is neatly wrapped up and the professionals all go on to their next job, we would begin gathering friends into our home again.

This weekend I think God, struck down thought.

It is as if the Lord has been pressing on my heart that now is the time to invite people in.

Now.

While things are just the way they are. After all, the goal of having a home is to live and the idea of inviting people into our homes is to share life.  What are these homes for if not to extend hospitality to others?

Shauna Niequist recently shared a story, of how at one time, homes were designed with a private area for families in the back and the front room was where the dead were put so people could come pay their respects. After funeral homes became common, theses rooms were renamed, “living rooms,” because they were no longer for the dead.

Don’t you love that?

Our homes are for the living, for the sharing, for the gathering of people.  

There are so many things that this house project is teaching me, revealing in me. Peeling back the layers of long established veneer has made our home a more solid building. And that applies to my heart as well. Reevaluating my motives for inviting people into my home and has brought a fresh energy to gather people around me.

Never mind, my messy home, completely, incomplete with daily disinfected counters and too much dog hair. There is really no better time to invite you over, since there all the outer layers of pretense have literally been stripped away.

Our house is only a tool to real life living and people are what make a house into home.

You are invited.  



























How about you? 

Have you had a small thing turn into a huge thing?

What do you do, when you feel exposed?

Is your home a place for the living?

I would love to hear from you.



 
© Rhonda Quaney