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“Whoa! Will you look at that! Wow!” Whistles and muffled chatter filled the kids on our court, their boots sliding upon the packed snow—five inches of it—that had fallen during the night. With ruddy cheeks exposed to biting winds, they looked like newly minted explorers wearing snow gear of reds, pinks, and blacks. Some rubbed mittened fists in their eyes, unaccustomed to the sun’s brilliance. Others lugged shovels. Still another sat in the snow and circled handfuls around him, his mouth forming a perfect O.

It wasn’t long before a plan formed. The tallest boy pulled a red wagon and gathered the others around him, their capped heads huddled, until smiles and more exclamations resounded up and down the court. More shovels appeared. The work began. Instead of banking snow from driveways and sidewalks along the curb, it was dumped into the wagon; then pulled to the entrance of the court and emptied into a large yellow bucket. More hands hefted buckets of snow until turrets of a fort appeared. Hours passed.

Still their plan was not fully actualized—there would be another fort built at the end of the cul-de-sac. Their gusto only mounted.

As I marveled at the kids’ industry, I wondered if their imaginations perceived their forts as safe places from which to thwart persons having no business on our court.

Or on a deeper level, whether they intuited such places with their God as,“… fortress, … stronghold.” (Psalm 18:2)

 

 

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August 2016

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February 2017

This is the same house that is located in our neighborhood.

The derelict one, like a face, manifests malaise, exhaustion: the loose guttering, yellowing shades aslant in the windows, ill-fitting screens, overgrown shrubs and weeds, worn roof shingles, and the sprung screen door. For several years the only sign of life was the whirring of the air conditioner located at the side yard. But last summer that changed with the arrival of the paramedics and the fire department.

For several weeks, the air conditioner continued whirring, until silenced, rendering the house even more forelorn.

Interesting that over the winter a woman contractor bought up the house and gutted it: replaced the roof, the front door, the shutters, the windows, and the front steps and walk; cut down the overgrown tree and re-shrubbed the front gardens with stone borders; seeded the lawn; and removed the sagging chain-link fence in the backyard. Structurally sound, the house awaits new owners, perhaps parents with spirited youngsters.

On a deeper level, this house has become a vessel for fresh life; its renovation suggests the deep care of God, restoring who or what has become exhausted. Pslam 127 speaks to this issue: “If Yahweh does not build the house, in vain do the masons toil.”

As a Senior I trust this process is underway within the depths of my psyche.

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