This Old House

This Old House

             Preparation for construction next door to our church building included the demolition of a house that had rested on its foundations for decades.  I can only imagine the many changes it has seen while standing on the corner of that intersection.  Businesses have come and gone, roads have been improved, traffic lights installed, and countless memories existed within its walls over the years.

            While I have no personal connection with the house, it was somewhat heartbreaking as I sat in my parked car and watched the large shovel dismantle that old house with so little effort.  The wood siding, the cement foundation, and even the old brick chimney were no match for the tonnage of equipment which leveled the house in a matter of a couple of hours.  Knowing the house had been in the same family for all its years, I could not help but imagine the stories that lived inside that dwelling – stories we likely will never hear. 

            The words “house” and “home” are synonymous, each referring to a place of dwelling.  In my mind, however, there has always been a technical distinction in that a house is made of bricks, stone, or wood, but a home is made of people – a house can be purchased, but a home must be made.  That idea seems to be shared by some realtors who advertise “homes for sale,” because a home sounds more inviting than a “house for sale.”  So, what is it that makes a home?

            In part, a home is made of events and memories and passages of life.  It is built through sorrows and joys, failings and successes – marks charting growth on the bedroom door frame, Kool-aid stains in the carpet, Christmas mornings around the tree, Thanksgiving dinners, birthday parties, wedding anniversaries, baby’s first steps – people bring life to a house and make it a home.

            What are some of the stories your house would tell?  Often when I phone a particular friend and ask, “Hey, what are you up to today,” I hear his standard response, “Just making memories.”  The powerful Deere 330CL can destroy a house in short order, but the home, built on love and strong moral values, can withstand an incredible barrage of attacks life throws at it.  The home is a significant investment of money, time, activity, and emotion.  Let’s not be too quick to abandon our “home” when tensions or dysfunctions arise, because it is worth saving.  Before you rent the big shovel, remember the old adage, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”

Dr. Steven J. Callis, January 2012


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