house like a miracle


I made an “obtuse” comment…I seem to like obtuse comments…to a friend once about a “house like a miracle”.

I think that she thought I was talking about the house that we live in….and I just let it go.

I didn’t explain that I was talking about the house that she and her family built.

You don’t build something good from “nothing”.

You can save a lot of money if you’re smart and willing to work hard.

You can save a lot of money if you’re creative and have a good eye for a bargain.

Our house is kind of like that.

It was a shell when we bought it.  It had been gutted by the previous owners…who had decided to divorce during the “remodeling”…and who sold it to us during the breakup.

Shortly after having our daughter, Zoe…very shortly…we moved into this shell of a house and started what turned out to be a long project.

It’s hard to remodel without any money.  You buy or find used lumber.  You get used to pulling a lot of nails.  You might even reuse some of the nails you pull.

You don’t just hire someone to do the work. You figure it out yourself…or don’t figure it out but do it anyway…and spend the money you saved on another treated post or bag of Sakrete.

This isn’t about our house, though, although the stories are kind of parallel ones.

I guess that most miracles that we expect seem to happen all at once.

We pray…and BAM!!! The MIRACLE!!  It’s dramatic, it’s instantanteous…it’s new…and it’s noticed.

(There’s a joke that I’ve heard lately…this guy comes up on a beautiful home and garden, says to the guy working on it, “Man, you and God have certainly done great things with this property…it’s beautiful!”.  The man working on the house thinks for a minute, and then says, “You should have seen it when it was just God’s”.)

I think that’s how the joke went…I guess it’s saying that some things need a lot of hard work to really come together….or maybe it’s saying that it takes effort to make something that’s already beautiful, in its own way, into the kind of manicured and controlled beauty that we can appreciate…I don’t really know.

When you live in a miracle, and it goes up board by board on a foundation dug and poured by hand, swinging arcs of stucco, good buys on windows, tile for the roof that arrived via “good trading”….I don’t think you notice the “miracle-ness” of it quite as much as when it just materializes in the field one morning. When the “miracle” takes some time to come around, you might not see it for all the sweat.

You appreciate it…you appreciate the solidness and the warmth, you appreciate what all that work did for your family…all the good times together that formed who you all are…but in the day to day, you might not notice it.

When I say “you”, it could be interchangeable at any point with “I”.  I don’t notice things…I don’t see…people grow up and move through, and I wonder “what just happened” while I worry about getting to a “pretty good job” 5 minutes late. I miss things while I’m paying attention to details that don’t really matter in the moment, details that I don’t remember even the next day.

I miss things while I’m just doing the part of life we call “living”.

I am proud of these guys for what they built.

I am impressed by how they built it.

It’s a miracle sitting out in a high desert in the mountains out West.

When I’ve had a chance to “really notice”, that’s what I see.

It’s a part of one family’s miracle.

About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.

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