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Wendell Berry once wrote, “There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.” I couldn’t help mulling these words as we walked through our new property this weekend, laden with disrepair and neglect. Every corner of this space needs attention, from the dead, entangled tree limbs to the dark, ugly kitchen. And we plan to attend to them. Most of the large work will happen slowly, but we have vision for this broken place–vision of mended cracks and clean surfaces and un-boarded windows, of gatherings with friends and family, of the everyday nothings mixed with the more intentional somethings.

This weekend, the kids ran circles through the empty space, full of light and shadow, laughing. They cleared bags of cigarette butts from the yard and nails from the wood. As we pulled up dingy carpet and scraped discolored wallpaper, I realized how allegorical this work, this restoration, is to the ongoing work occurring in our hearts. All of our physical digging and cutting away and building and mending and painting in this home is a picture of another unseen work, the restoration of another kind of brokenness–my own. Across the room, the boys tell jokes to one another, sweeping piles of dirt from the floors. I smile at these tiny nothings happening in our new home, recognizing the desecrated becoming sacred.

28 replies
  1. Kaylan
    Kaylan says:

    This is so beautiful, friend. I love that you aren’t afraid of taking on a big project and home like this. I think there is such value in redeeming the old, and rescuing the broken….fixing and building and repairing are things that are often not willing to be done in our cheap and convenient culture. I value you and your values!

    Reply
    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      Such gracious words. We’ve been wondering if we’re really up for such another huge project–but we’re going to try anyway. Thank you for the encouragement, Kaylan.

      Reply
  2. Becca :: Making Room in Sicily
    Becca :: Making Room in Sicily says:

    This is just beautiful, and so true! I’ve been photographing our home recently and thinking so much about the memories and beautiful (and hard) moments that have happened here. We’re preparing to leave our home in Sicily this summer, and I will miss it so! It is sacred it so many ways.

    Reply
    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      So true. You’ll be so grateful for those images when you’re no longer there. It’s amazing how those little things really do become so sacred when they’re gone. Thanks for sharing, Becca.

      Reply
  3. Manda
    Manda says:

    Beautiful words Bethany and such a wonderful place to fix up and call home. I love the charm and can’t wait to see all the love and hard work that will be poured into it!

    Reply
    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      It’s funny to fall in love with something so abused and worn, but we did. I think it was the charm that got us. Thank you for your encouragement and generous words, Manda. I hope to keep everyone posted here as we rebuild our lives here. xx

      Reply
  4. Ellie
    Ellie says:

    Your words are really lovely, I’m happy to see you guys restoring and filling the once empty house with warmth and goodness of life, may your family share many happy stories in this house!

    Reply
  5. Karen
    Karen says:

    Love the house, so rich and full of timeless elements. How funny though that someone painted the Inside of the cabinets such a pretty color but not the outside lol. I say paint the hood and the cabinets and it will be beautiful next to that great stove and cookbook shelf between the kitchen and dining.

    Reply
    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      Isn’t the stove beautiful? It’s my favorite part, something to build the space around. My husband and I have remarked several times now, “what was he thinking with the brown painted cabinets?” Another person’s treasure, I suppose, and i know other people will feel the way about some of our own choices. Life. Thank you for sharing, Karen.

      Reply
  6. crystal shea hethcote
    crystal shea hethcote says:

    ah- i love! we always look for homes with character, but that need a little pick me up. it’s the best way to make a home truly yours , but getting the old school character along with it. this one has great bones. congratulations! can’t wait to see what you do.

    Reply
  7. Kevin | Thou Swell
    Kevin | Thou Swell says:

    It definitely needs some TLC, but that will make it all the more rewarding to fix up… Can’t wait to see it evolve as you improve it!! That wall in the kids room is so funky…

    Reply
    • Bethany
      Bethany says:

      Haha– TLC, for sure. Isn’t that wall crazy? Although some were sad to see it go, I’ll be grateful to give it a fresh coat of paint and new life. ;)

      Reply
  8. Amberly
    Amberly says:

    This post and these pictures make my heart happy ;-) I am so excited for you and your family. I have been praying this event over you for months now. God is so good. And you are so beautiful, inside and out. I love your heart for God, your family, the beauty and struggle in everyday life, and your honesty about it all. So happy for you, friend.

    Reply
  9. Emily
    Emily says:

    What a beautiful quote and beautiful words! I love that last photo especially.. through the tangled limbs, you see a glimpse of the sun, a ray of hope. I’m looking forward to watching the transformation from house to home.

    Reply
  10. Danielle
    Danielle says:

    Congratulations on the new home! I can’t wait to see how you transform your home and how your family grows there. Your words are beautiful and created such imagery as I read them.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] was infested with poison ivy (both of which we discovered after moving in). (You can see images here.) I still remember one of our friends walking through with us, wide-eyed, whispering […]

  2. […] most of you know, we closed on a new (very old) home on Valentine’s Day of this year. Covered in 50 year old dingy carpet, layers of aged […]

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