Bigger & Better

There is a house down the street and around the corner from mine, another remnant of what this area of our village used to be, which is one in the oldest in the area, with some of the oldest houses on this small peninsula of land that is sandwiched between the ancient waters of the Grand River and the more lively waters of Spring Lake.

This house was gray and it had an eggplant colored trim, it had old, multi-paned windows, it had a little garage behind it and a large yard. We had noticed the house was for sale, by the sign nailed to a huge old tree in the front yard, so we stopped in. The door was open so we looked around, wood floors, tiny rooms, certainly not an open concept.

There was a charm to the house, the way the light changed as it filtered through the leaves of the large tree out front, the way we were sure there was a second floor, only we couldn’t find a way to get up there.

The other day we drove by and the windows and the doors were stacked up against the fence.

Today the house is gone, the tree too.

We stopped by and Casey asked the builders if his wife could have the hostas, huge mature plants around the foundation, squished, covered with glass and insulation. He was answered with a shrug, a grunted, puzzled, sure.

I stood over the pit of the basement while Casey dug those hostas out for me and a neighbor eyed us. I marveled at the strength in his poison ivy stricken legs, how he wouldn’t let me carry the plants to the tarp in the back of our truck. How he would do this simple thing for me, gladly, grateful to give me something that I truly wanted, something I could not have taken myself; not easily anyway.

We brought the plants home and we dug some holes, filled the holes with water and re-homed these plants.

Now, I know the plants aren’t more than a hundred years old, not like that house, not like my house. I know they look a little sad right now, disgruntled and wilty. But I also know that the rich soil, the sunshine, and plenty of water will bring them back to me before the summer is over.

And I know that bigger is not better. And I know that the history of place should be respected. And I know that in saving these plants, plants I could buy at any store in much better shape, well, what I did was take a small piece of that house with me. I took a small piece of history and planted it my yard and am still scraping the dirt from my fingernails.

Why do we always want more? Where is our contentment?

I’ve been daydreaming about this beach/French country/chic living room that I want. I loathe my decor. I want more.

Casey said, as he wrangled our literally three foot long hose (if you’ve seen my yard you would understand why I have a three foot hose) and hooked up the sprinkler and watered the parched grass and beds in the front of the house, I’m sorry honey. I know it doesn’t look very nice, this dinky hose and sprinkler, I wish I could give you a perfect house with perfect flowers and new, HUGE hostas.

I said, I wish you would know that you are enough. I wish you would believe that.

Because I don’t want a perfect house. I don’t want new plants, I wants plants that have sheltered under the eaves of a house that was taken down in the course of a single day, yet stood on that corner for more than  a century. That dinky hose, that dinky sprinkler, it’s watering grass in front of my own century old house (and a little street too, and some garbage cans…).

I don’t want more, bigger and better. Not most of the time anyway.

I want to rehome hostas, to take them from hot and dusty and confused contractors who have just torn apart so many years of history.

Tonight the sun will go down, the lake will reflect back the pink sky. The Tigers are playing at Wrigley and we’re watching for some friends of ours attending the game. I will try to keep my temper with naughty children who don’t even know how much they crave the routine of  a school day, who have no idea how quickly three weeks can pass.

I’ll sit outside, I’ll brave the bugs. I’ll let the orange cat sit on my lap, where he always wants to be lately, and I’ll hear the memories as they drift out over the small lake, out over the river, all the way to Lake Michigan. I’ll hear the century of LIFE that was lived in the house that was dismantled today. Jazz music when it was new, arguments about raising children and money, the sound of kids down at what used to be a pavilion with lanterns and bands and music and laughter floating out over the lake,  and is now the beach.

My new hostas will nod in the breeze, and along in time to the memories that caress them from the house they’ve guarded. They’re planting those memories in the soil of this house.

Things don’t need to be newer, they don’t need to be bigger or better. We just need to believe that our things are enough. That the way our things reflect us back to the world, that that is enough.

Love yourselves friends. Appreciate what is around you, what you have, who you are, what you are capable of.

A dear friend of mine lost her 37 year old husband this week. He took the garbage out and he just didn’t come back. He had two little kids, and he had my friend. And the way that she has coped has been nothing but graceful and gracefilled. I think she knows that we don’t know what to say. I think she knows that our tears don’t come close to her grief, that we know that, and shed them anyway.

I hope her Baypointe Church family will love on her. I hope they will see her through this. I know she will never be the same, I don’t expect her to be.

But she is one of those people who always knew that she was enough.

We are enough.

I don’t feel very lovable tonight. I feel overwhelmed and over extended and like too many people know where I live or how to get ahold of me. I feel like hiding. And I just can’t. As I listen to the memories of the house down the street echo around me tonight in the soft air I will coach myself, tell myself, you are ok. You are enough. You can do hard things.

Gotta practice what I preach.

I love you still, pray for my friend, for her children. For her husband, may he rest in peace, and rise in glory.


“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters” — Norman Maclean


Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant, Brett. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. May his soul and the souls of all the departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. 





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