a little and a lot

Friday, April 24, 2009

I'm Just a Passin' Through

Yesterday as I left a fabulous lunch with friends at Fresh Slices in midtown on the first 80-degree day of the year, I opened the sunroof, blasted the Classic Rock, and admired the fabulous architecture on Overton Park Avenue.  

It seemed each house I drove past was more impressive than the previous, and I found myself thinking, "That's my dream house...no, THAT's my dream house!" etc.  (This is reminiscent of a game I used to play with my brother Cody--we would sit in front of the TV on Saturday mornings and when a commercial came on, and whoever said "MINE!" first "got" the item.  I also play the adult version of this today by going through the J.Crew & Pottery Barn catalogues, folding pages over for the items I imaginarily "buy.")

I attended an amazing public school when we lived in upstate New York, and we learned about architecture styles & periods during my 4th grade year.  I have always loved Queen Anne's since that time (pictured above)--their turrets, shingles, stained glass details, ridiculously fabulous porches...  I spotted several as I drove down Overton, and I wondered when the owners might place them for sale so I could snatch one up.  (I'm sure it would be in my price range. ha.)

As I traveled on, I continued to think "Yes, that's my dream house," and imagine what furnishings and appliances and paint colors would garnish the insides of my future Queen Anne.  I day-dreamed about sitting on my wrap-around front porch, sipping my Arnold Palmer with a sprig of mint.  

And in the midst of my day-dreaming, I started imagining the worst.  It would really stink if we had a fire and my Dream House burned to the ground.  What if a tornado came through and ripped it apart?  I wondered if I would spend my whole existence in my Dream House with fear and paranoia of when it would be destroyed.  

It struck me at that moment that maybe we're not supposed to have our Dream Houses.  Our Dream Cars.  Our Dream Life.  Because then we'd love living on earth more than we looked forward to heaven?  Is this what Jesus meant when he said it might be tough for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven--perhaps they are perfectly content with what they possess on earth?

The eschatological language (grad school speak for: talk of "the end times") in the Bible tends to freak me out.  But it plays an important role in my life--it reminds me that the big picture includes more than my immediate surroundings.  That all of this will change, and a majority of it will fade, rust, be eaten by moths, you know the rest.  Instead of freaking me out, it should comfort me.  It reminds me that my life is not about attaining my Dream House, my Dream Car, my Dream Possessions.  My Dream Life is the one where I live with "just enough" so that others can benefit from my extra.  My Dream Life might involve having to change the seat settings in the car after my husband drives it...it might involve air conditioning units and hand-washing dishes.  

There is a tension in life, and we must experience it and live with it instead of pushing it under our purchases.  That tension is that things are not "right"...that things should be better.  But they aren't...yet.  I hate that tension.  I am known by several close friends to get under the covers and pull them up to my nose and wish for Jesus to come back, from time to time.  We (all of creation) were created with a longing for everything to be "made right."  Living with that tension is necessary.

In this era of my life, I am taught to think that what I currently have is Step One and to think forward to what I will have One Day.  But I'm just beginning to realize that what if Step One is the entirety of my life on earth?

I probably won't own that house pictured at the top of this post.  But I have no problem admiring it.  It just reminds me that One Day might be even better than a Queen Anne.


H Vest said...

Loved your post Jesse. Your mansion in heaven will definitely be a Queen Anne. The tension you talked about reminds me of that old-school Chris Rice song "Missing You." Great song!

Katie said...

AMEN! A great reminder for us all!!

Lance said...

If any consolation, a friend of mine (ours) in the building industry says the roof joints between those conical turrets and the angles of the roof tend to leak often. I'm with ya... and enjoyed your thoughts.

Jane said...
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Jane said...

What a great read! And so very true! Thanks for the reminder!

Larissa Smith said...

Oh, preach it, girl! You should read "Surprised by Hope" by N.T. Wright. It helps provide a healthy tension between seeing a need for improvement in this world, seeing your part in that improvement, and staying excited for the coming perfection.

I still hate that life has to be hard, though.

Ashley @ pure and lovely said...

awe. nice thoughts ;) its extremely comforting since I will probably NEVER own a house like that in real life, ESPECIALLY on a YM's budget. I know people feel sorry for Jamin being married to me. haha. WOMP WOMP. But as my sister in law so aptly put it the other day, I DO get in to heaven first. Isn't that totally how it works??? ;)

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