A Letter to the Future Owner of Our House.


Dear Future Homeowner,

{To any friends who read this, we aren't moving. Nor do we have a dog. This is a hopeful letter for the future.}

If the walls of a home had all the words uttered between them written on them, and if those words grew in size with frequency spoken, this home here would have a very visually interesting story to tell.

Let me try to tell it. I've attached a pair of glasses for you to see the story I'm telling. They're part of the house. I'd encourage you to give them to the next owner if that day comes.

Now for the tour.

The guest bedroom held the laundry when it didn't hold the guests. That room, there down the hall. With the laundry, words of prayer over those guests (as well as many others) and my most vulnerable of moments were spoken. Spoken as a faith holder, a mother, a friend. Notice how many of words seem to contradict each other. I struggled deeply and out loud in that room. That room is sacred to me. I walked in weary, I often left a bit more emboldened and a bit softer. I hope the same and more for you. I hope the one who met me there meets you there too.

The kids room has many, many silly sounds; a few "stop touching me's" and more than a few bathroom jokes. I apologize, you'll have to paint over those. But notice the large script on the walls. The way they seem to sway a bit? The way it's as if there were two lines in each letter moving all at once? Those were the songs we sang, my husband and I. Every single night. Sometimes twice to a restless child.

Here are those songs:

"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
There's just something about that name.
Master, Savior Jesus;
like a fragrance after the rain.
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away,
(we edited this part somewhere in a blur of sleeplessness and not remembering the words, but I quite like it now.)
But Jesus will still remain."

And then,

"As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after Thee.
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship Thee.

You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart's desire
And I long to worship Thee."

The first was a very deliberate choice as a new mother and father. It was sang to me as a child all my life and thus seemed very fitting.  The second song became permanent by accident. It was the only song I could remember with a screaming boy (he screamed two hours every night for the entirety of his first year.)  I sang over and over to him that song until it became 'his song.'

Now two songs are sung every night. 

The hallway most certainly is scribbled with "MOOOM" and "DAAAD" and in equal measure "Go to bed!" with various threats of various kinds. They mostly listened. They did get fed desserts contrary to the walls proclamations.

The kitchen and living room are probably the most visually interesting rooms, as you'll soon see. The words on the wall move about in different colors and certainly different fonts as vibrant as the new and old friends that brought them. If you look down at the bamboo floor (the man at the Hardware store told me we didn't have wood, "we had grass floors," and now I know why he said that...) you'll notice the scratches, they're from laughter as chairs shuffled. They're from furniture moved over a lost toy or, in my most insecure seasons, deep cleaning fits before people arrived. I moved the couch...no one looks under the couch. There's a lesson in there-about how our insecurities leave their mark on others- but I digress. 

The chew marks are fortunately not from the guests or the children. They're from our great adventure of a dog. 

Then there's our bedroom. That might be the most curious of the rooms, certainly the most varied. 

It has an amalgamation of words! (but probably not the word amalgamation, because I definitely don't say that on a regular basis.)

 The wall on your right has all the phrases related to budget meetings. Words about making ends meet and not forgetting to pay such and such and the particularly sore topic of amazon transactions.  The one adjacent has dreams we spoke about and scribbled on the white board and then erased as real life happened...Sometimes that was really sad...but I've come to know now the dreams weren't as great as the real life. Those other weird words are about Star Wars Lego building and watercolor and print making. It's a happy creative little wall. 

The next, I feel I must ask you to turn away, but since you've already glanced, is our most precious. 

Did you notice the words, how they shake?

That only happens in this room. 

That's because of how they were spoken. Vulnerable. intimate. soul-shaping. Words spoken to each other in the deepest moments of joy and hope and failure. These 'pillow talk' words, mixed with prayer, hurtful confessions, affirmations of love to each other, raw insecurities, confessions of deep wounds.... This too is a sacred wall.

And lastly, and perhaps my most favorite. 

The ceiling.
Mixed with the vulnerable was the stupid, clever, and funny. Clever one liners, repeat movie lines, dumb dad jokes. They all produced the laughter. Heads tilted back, large guffaws ran loud and free and ended up there.

I'm most certain the ceiling is covered with laughter. You could paint it over but I'd recommend leaving it. I hope you add to it. It might be my favorite part of the whole house. Several other rooms also have the trademark laughter. That might be what makes this home absolutely exceptional.

There are more rooms with more enchanting phrases, as I'm sure you'll find yourself. There most definitely are a few not-so-lovely that should be covered with paint as quickly as one can. I did try, yet they pierce through. However, I have found a remedy I'll get to in a moment.

Please notice nearby, the "I’m sorry."

Notice how large they are in every room, it is due to their frequency. If I could recommend one thing, I would offer that useful phrase. We practiced it often and learned how to say it with sincerity to each other. As we found ourselves needing to speak it often, we understand its meaning quite well now.

There are toddler 'words' and sentences spoken from those of different countries, and with PhD's and Ivy league degrees (I cannot fathom  how we managed to get them here, other than to conclude that even the greatest of minds need food to eat.) There are also words from precious people with no degrees who are treasured to us all the same. 

Two things have reigned supreme and I'd offer are decent means for joy:

1. We love a man who claimed he was God. They called him Jesus.

2. We learned-through much failure-to love the eternal souls he allowed us to call our people.

To suggest it was all enchanting would of course be proven false. Just one glance at those ugly, ugly words spoken in anger and hurt and misunderstanding mentioned above and you'd know the errancy of such a claim.

But if you look close, please take a few steps nearer. The remedy. Do you see that strange red under glaze? It appeared relatively soon after the words found their way to the wall. See how the mix seems to make the words fade a bit? As if the wall itself was healing from it?

That's due to the #1 I listed in what reigns supreme. It correlates to our hearts, I think. As he heals those, the walls seem to, in turn, heal as well.

Only he heals words like those. We invited him in and he stayed. He's in the process of making it all new, He says. Give it time, he's been doing this for a while. You won't have to deal with those sights much longer.

Because of all this and more, this home really does have a lovely story to tell.

I'm excited to have you in it. I hope these walls prove more lovely because of your joy. I still do apologize about the scratched-up floors. If you can, try to see it as a reminder of people who lived and laughed and found toys. I learned to not clean under the couch as often as I grew to understand deeper love.

Also, remember the remedy, if you find yourself with seemingly permanent words.

All the very best,

The previous homeowners.

P.S. Sorry about the Knotweed. We tried.

P.S.S. The crappy paint job on the side of the mirror wasn't our doing...but we also never got around to fixing it, so I'm sorry for that too.

P.S.S.S. The peony bush will bloom in spring and it might be the most beautiful thing you've ever seen. The family who first owned the home (and lived in the previous house for over 100 years! The woman had the Boston globe cane! In the 1940 census she was 12 here and she lived till 103!)  was  I suspect,  the ones who planted it. I hope it brings you as much joy as it brought me. They say peonies can live for over 100 years! I planted another, just in case we're closer to its end. Although I might never see it bloom in full, perhaps you will. I hope you will.

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