Around the corner sits a little Cape Cod. It’s almost perfectly symmetrical and situated on a street where the neighbors keep up their yards. There’s a big tree in the backyard.
But today the Cape is painted cobalt blue—actually, two mismatched shades of cobalt. The garage and its breezeway are tack-ons waiting to collapse on a windy day. And until last week, the windows—the original wood windows—were checkered with shattered panes.
Still, I tell family and friends that someday I’ll save that house. All those close to me know the blue house because I bring it up so much. I have already chosen the color scheme inside and out.
So it was no surprise that last Tuesday, when I drove the twins to kindergarten, my heart started racing when I saw the house’s original windows had been replaced—cheap vinyl sliders on the sides and fixed picture windows in the front. The crew was loading up the old windows as I passed.
I tossed the twins out of the van at school and raced back to the house. I said a prayer—“please let me get those windows.” It’s funny. For as long as I’ve been eyeing the house, I’ve known it was only a matter of time before the landlord tore out the windows with all their broken panes. I had visualized it before. When it finally happened, I just happened to drive by. And I was ready.
I pulled up and asked about the old windows. Could I call the owner and ask to take them home? The crew’s foreman waved a dismissive hand and said I could just take them. I never collapsed the seats of my van so fast, and in three minutes, all the old windows were loaded and on their way to my place.
Someday I’m going to buy that old house, fix it up, and put all those old windows back where they belong. They’ll need some work, but I’m ready.
I told my family that getting those windows was a sign, a love letter from God that I’ll be able to do the things I’m dreaming about. Someday. And it’s okay to wait. He’s helping tide me over with little things like a stack of broken windows.
Lately I’ve been thinking about my infatuation with old houses. What is that all about, and why do I have this impulse to fix old things? Aren’t there more important things to which I should devote my time? People are important; are houses?
Maybe or maybe not. But what is important is the impulse to create something beautiful, even if we’re starting from zero. I think we all have a little bit of that creative drive inside. That’s why we have babies and want houses to feel like homes. That’s why we choose favorite colors and bake birthday cakes. Life might not ever be perfect, but we’ve all got the ability to make it lovelier. If you look around, it won’t be hard to find the opportunity. And that, my friends, will be your own wonderful love letter from God. •