2009-12-07 - House Historians
Proverbs 14:23a "Hard work always pays off;" (The Message)
These words from Proverbs 14 are motivating when you are in the mist of a demanding project.
I was a little nervous as we neared the unfamiliar street. Were we making a mistake? It was such an imposition. When I saw Bob's smiling face waiting for us in the driveway, my concerns vanished. I had been relying on fear instead of God's peace.
"Are you Bob?", my husband anxiously asked as he rolled down the car window. The cheery, gray-haired man answered yes. I couldn't believe it. Here was the man who breathed life into our new home. Bob was the one who first lived in our 59-year-old house. What stories he could tell about the California ranch.
Five months into our marriage, we bought our first home. No more apartment living, no more sharing walls with strangers. With this purchase came independence, more space, responsibility, and a long list of projects. The first thing to do was to paint over the pink walls in the living room and dining room. As we started to cover over the boldly decorated walls, I wondered what was underneath the layers of paint. How did the previous families adorn the rooms, and were they happy? These casual questions got my husband to thinking, and in a matter of days, amidst the cleaning, painting, and unpacking, we began researching the history our home.
The encouraging words found in Ecclesiastes 4:9 certainly rang true for us during this project: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:" (NIV)
The nature of the hobby demanded long hours together. We had a common goal and worked collectively to accomplish it. Our hard work was satisfying when answers were found, but also rewarding when we learned more about each other. Based on our findings, we narrowed down the first owner to three men still living in our state. Using an Internet directory, my husband located and bravely contacted the correct Bob: the man who purchased the house over 50 years ago. He was now in his 80s and living a few hours away. Bob graciously invited us to meet him, his wife, and his daughter, who grew up in the house. Not many would open their lives, let alone their past, to strangers, but Bob was delighted to talk about what he remembered about his, and now our, first home.
It was fun being a detective, uncovering the history that we are now a part of. Now when I look at our walls, I know what they would say, if they could talk. They would proudly reminisce of joyful memories, and are looking forward to the happy times ahead.