Last year two crazy kids bought a house. They tore it open from the inside out. It did the same to them. Both the house and the people are more beautiful than they were before. This is the tour-de-blog through the before, the after, and the during.
Welcome, friend: Living and Dining.
The very first order of business was knocking out a wall to let in some light. Little did I know that a wall was about to be knocked out in my heart too. It would also bring light – eventually.
Our home was built in 1953, and the first thing you noticed when you walked in was the wall right in front of you. Closing you in – a very long, narrow living room and dining room greeted you, with doors cornered to the right and the left.
The door off the dining room led to a galley kitchen. The door off the living room led to the hallway connecting the three bedrooms, and was also your path to the backyard and natural light – through one of the bedrooms. It was an awkward design. And in case you were confused about where the living room ended and the dining room began, our predecessors left us a nice line right down the middle of the wall, demarking from the baby blue living room to the canary yellow dining room. So many wrong things in that sentence.
The kitchen was a goner. We knew we would have to gut it. But late one night, as I was just drifting off to bed, brilliance woke me up. Since we had to gut the kitchen anyways, why not move it? “All we had to do” was knock out a wall.
And so the wall came down. And the light came in. And doors 1 & 2 were needed no more, so we closed them both off and, gasp, got three new rooms for the price of one wall. The living room lost all signs of awkward, and became rather, well, cozy.
It’s first Christmas was the first for us to ever host Jason’s family, complete with a cheery fire in the original brick fireplace.
The dining room was filled with a few fun projects. Step one: Be rid of the baby blue/canary paint line. Step two: Adopt antique furniture from the Thrift Store and renew for life in the 21st century.
The whole place transformed and gained new possibility the minute we knocked out that wall.
About two days after we knocked that wall down, and long before we knew just what a difference it would make, another wall started to crumble. My husband’s job got real precarious real suddenly, and I was unprepared for it. It was like a sledge hammer went straight to my core. All I could see was what got knocked down. Like his salary and our health benefits and the safety of working at a place that is also your Church-home. I didn’t know that light had to come into some dark places in my heart. I didn’t know how attached I’d become to things like health insurance and what-not. I didn’t know that I’d been fighting against his character for months, defending his employer instead of my own husband when days had gone awry and I just didn’t want to accept what he was telling me, so I found a way to just, well, not. I didn’t know that I had so many fears sitting just under the surface. Until that wall came down. One hammer blow at a time.
But eventually – just as sure as drywall mud and new paint and texture and crown moulding were put in place to make that hole in the wall look like it had always been precisely that way – eventually my heart started rebuilding. And light was able to shine in the places that had been dark and awkward. I’m not saying there aren’t some lingering shadows in my heart, but I am saying that when that wall came tumbling down, when we had to ask family to wait on payment they’d already earned for their work, when we had to remember how to pray for daily bread because the shopping list now included plumbing and drywall and floorboards, when we heard God say that the next job He was calling to was a support-raising position, and when we actually said “yes”, slowly the light began to filter in as I slowly, painfully, even regretfully, opened my heart more fully to a God who provides even when – or maybe better said, AS – walls come tumbling down.