About a year ago, Jim and I took a flying leap into one of the craziest adventures of our lives and landed smack in the middle of my own personal metaphor. As is often the way with us, I had this brilliant romantic idea and my smart and practical husband very kindly entertained it for all of about six seconds before saying, um, no. Not really. It was 10 seconds.smile emoticon I reminded him that twice before, we had purchased homes either in or on the verge of foreclosure and turned them into places we actually lived in and loved (still do) and that Chip and Joanna Gaines are two of the coolest people on the planet and if they can do it we can too. Right? Uh oh.
I went to the bookstore and bought 432 books about flipping real estate (ha ha so funny, sometimes it does feel like flippin' real estate!) and devoured every one of them because when I'm into something... I'm ALL in. And one definitely needs to read 432 books about flipping to REALLY KNOW how to do it right. Right? No problem. We got this. I get it. Totally.
How many hours did I sit on the middle of that floor by myself and whisper, "Oh God, what have I done?" and "What is the lesson here?" How often did He reach down and whisper back... "Shhh, be quiet, just listen. Stop talking. Here's a hammer. You're gonna need it. It's demo day."
Slowly, slowly over the course of 7 months, I stopped talking and started listening. I ran my hands over words of hate scribbled all over the walls and I prayed for peace in the heart of the child that wrote them as I painted over them. I scrubbed floors and cabinets stained by years and years of addiction and heartache. I watched in wonder as my husband fixed places that had rotted long ago and I found myself weeping at the kitchen sink when I found little Dora stickers stuck to all the lower doors and I realized there were children living all around me in conditions that refused to dampen either their innocence or their joy. We are survivors even at 5, aren't we?
The world would tell me we did it all wrong. You don't flip a house like that. You make your money when you buy, you hire someone else to do all the work because time is money and you gotta move it quick because your bottom line is the most important thing. But we listen instead to a still small voice, a teacher who knows us intimately and there are lessons we can't learn unless we humble ourselves enough to wade into the mud and muck and get our hands dirty. If someone else had done all the work, then someone else would have reaped the benefits of those lessons and we would have missed what we were there to learn. We wouldn't have fallen in love with the people next door. I wouldn't have had the pleasure of reaching through a broken window and lifting a little girl inside to look around at the place where her uncle will soon be living. Every one of those things would have been lost to me. How sad would that be?
We found it pretty funny that our first project was on HIGH ROAD and we've made more than one joke about taking it over the last year. If you were to Google that here's what you'd find: To "take the high road" means doing the right thing, even if it may not be easy or popular with the majority. In short, righteousness. You really wanna tell me God doesn't speak in ways we can understand? You can try... but I'll never believe you.
We got a phone call yesterday. The voice on the other end said, "I've got a little home on HOPE PLACE...you might wanna take a look at. (I kid you not... that is the name of the street.) I just smiled.
My hope... is built on nothing less.