Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Talking Walls

Two weeks ago I packed up several dozen cardboard boxes, filled tons of hefty garbage bags with trash and sold what was left in a garage sale.
I despise moving I’ve done it way too many times and each time I find myself wrapping my dishes in newspaper I promise myself this will be the last move I make.
This particular move was almost unexpected. I say almost because ever since the day I moved into 448 Sandalwood Drive I counted down the days until I could move out again.
It was an old house in a bad part of town. Nightly search copters flew overhead announcing that residents should lock their doors because a fugitive was on the run from the police. The first time I experienced this I battened down the hatches, turned off the lights and hunkered down in a corner. Now, three years later when the search copters continue their nightly searches I make chocolate chip cookies and brew a pot of tea just in case the perpetrator happens to drop in. On one particular evening the cops chased a man into our yard and slammed him up against the side of the house. I heard the racket and looked out of my bedroom window only to see the guilty party’s cheek pressed against it while he was being cuffed. I immediately took advantage of the situation held up two different pairs of shoes and asked him which ones he thought went best with what I was wearing.
Did I mention the house was old? It was built in the 1950’s and still has the original plumbing, and paint and appliances. Tiny windows offer little light and barely any air during the scorching El Cajon summers. If I turn on the air conditioner the whole house will experience a blackout due to the aging electrical system. The only way we can run the air is to turn everything that plugs into a socket off and the only time we can do that is while we are sleeping. So I am the night crier running down the hallway every night making sure all the girls have finished with their nightly rituals and in bed before I flip the switch to cool.
The walls are dingy, the carpet is a thirty year old shag, the plumbing is always backing up, the hallway too narrow the house dim, the floors creak, the appliances barely work and the neighborhood is questionable complete with a ninety-nine year old woman who lives across the street with long flowing white hair and wears a purple velvet gown as she glides across her front yard like a ghostly apparition.
So, if it is so horrid why did I cry when I finally pulled out of the driveway for the last time?
Because a house is a house but a home is where you really live, where life truly takes place. Life exploded in that house the past three years. It was the last place me and my four daughters all lived together and for that reason alone, it was the best place I ever hung my hat. But, if you were to walk through the house today you will find the rooms empty except for the occasional piece of trash or a lone clothes hanger left behind in the closet. You will see indentions in the carpet where furniture once sat and if you called out our names the place will remain silent for none of us are there to answer. However the walls will speak to you...

The past three years we made it a habit to write on the walls. On many occasions we would take a sharpie and start scribbling a banner across a drab wall. Our declarations would be a quote of inspiration, a dream, a scripture verse, a poignant date on the calendar, or a thought or word from God that entered into our hearts and we would begin to scribble.
As I walked through the house for the last time my eyes fell upon the walls and they spoke loud and clear bringing a smile to my face and a tear to my eyes as I relived some very poignant memories
“Never the Less- God’s answer for human weakness”
“Go after a plan that’s destined to fail without divine intervention”
“We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed but those who believe and are saved”
“Your playing small does not save the world”
“Do not fear what they fear”
“The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me”
“Hope does not disappoint.”
And on and on they speak….
Over the last three years the old house echoed with hysterical laughter and heavy sobbing, celebrations and devastations, hope and disappointment, courage and fear, peace and unrest, but no matter what the circumstances it always reverberated with love.

If these old walls,
if these old walls could speak
of the things that they remember well,
Stories and faces dearly held,
A couple in loveLivin’ week to week,
Rooms full of laughter,
if these walls could speak.
If these old halls,
if hallowed halls could talk,
these would have a tale to tell
of sun goin’ down and dinner bell,
And children playing at hide and seek
from floor to rafter,if these halls could speak.
They would tell you that I’m sorry
for bein’ cold and blind and weak.
They would tell you that it’s only
That I have a stubborn streak,
If these walls could speak
If these old fashioned window panes were eyes,
I guess they would have seen it all--
Each little tear and sigh and footfall,
And every dream that we came to seek
Or followed after,If these walls could speak.
They would tell you that I owe you
more than I could ever pay.
Here’s someone who really loves you;
don’t ever go away.
That’s what these walls would say.
They would tell you that I owe you
more than I could ever pay.
Here’s someone who really loves you;
don’t ever go away.
That’s what these walls would say.
That’s what these walls would say.
That’s what these walls would say.
-lyrics by Amy Grant