You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘renovation’ tag.

For many in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, it will be another Sunday, the last in July, but for a handful of German Saxon Lutherans, grief will supplant their centuries-old vision of the Sacred which they established in 1850; its name, Zion Lutheran Church in North City, is closing.

No longer will it be a dwelling place for God. No longer will congregants flock to Sunday services, attend the elementary school, gather for political discussions, and so much more, it being the hub of German culture.

With the prosperity of the city, all this changed. Decades of blight displaced the residents: Disintegrating hand-made brick homes were eventually torn down, the stripped lots choked with chicory tangles. Factory and ship-spawned soot also contributed to lung diseases and defaced limestone buildings. Survival prompted relocating to cleaner air. Yet, many congregants remained loyal to their church and attended Sunday services at Zion.

Years ago, attendance at their Midnight Mass drew my compassion for this impoverished Gothic church, its sixteen-bells carillon in the spire long silenced. Especially striking were the worn wooden kneelers, evidence of countless worshipers’ faith in God; tinsel-tired Christmas trees leaning against each other; pink walls clashing with the threadbare red carpet, the dank chill that no heating system could allay. Few worshiped with us that night in the candle-lit sanctuary.

Yet, my friend’s centenarian Mother still carries the stories of what happened there. Precious God remembers, too, with Kingdom blessings.


August 2016


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.

An attraction graced a tall lanky aerospace engineer and a brunette IT marketer with the dark eyes of her Native American heritage. In time, she joined him in caring for his simple brick bungalow with green shutters, located on a tree-lined court in St. Louis County. After exchanging vows, they became life-partners.

Failed pregnancies only fueled their desire for children. They finally adopted the newborn Clark and, overnight, bloomed into parents. Within months, however, they became pregnant and delivered their daughter Sloane the following July.

Because of their need for more space and their desire to raise their toddlers among congenial neighbors, they engaged a contractor to build a second floor onto their bungalow. After they boxed up its contents, they moved to a nearby apartment for the duration of the renovation that began last week.

Never once did they flinch beneath the multiple sacrifices required for this change that would enhance their family life and us in multiple ways.

The story beneath their story still gives me pause. I live next door.

How often do we slumber within outworn or crowded conditions rather than embrace the rigors and uncertainties of change? Especially when our spirits insist we wake up and embrace a fuller life?




Available on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: