“Two weeks!” said with a New York accent is a common joke in our family in reference to the 1986 film, The Money Pit. When we decided to build a screened porch this fall, my sister and I laughed as we were promised two to four weeks until completion. We know too well the reality of construction having grown up in different houses where we seemed to always have a home renovation project in progress. I remember trying my first Subway cold-cut trio with jalapeños, a brave choice for a youngin’, when my mom brought sandwiches home for a man that was working outside our house when I was in second grade. His friendly white-toothed smile against his dirty skin is all I remember of his face. I remember the feeling of waiting for the culmination of our home’s completion. There was excitement and something like an ache in my soul waiting for a feeling of “it is finished.” The day would inevitably, and finally after months, come; and then, shortly after, due to unrelated life events, we would move.
Home after home under construction. Great expectations shattered. New dreams grew up as we began again. There is grace in remembering and forgetting the faces and places of my pilgrimage for home.
When we started the porch this late August, the familiar ache rose up inside of me of entering into the dread of waiting. I knew it would be longer than expected. I prepared myself, knowing my impatience. A painter introduced us to the builder. The painter with his weathered hands and kind face stood on his ladder listening to a Bible study on the radio outside our home. He finished the same week the builder started handing the figurative baton of renovation over prolonging our waiting for the home to be complete with a screened porch. Surely, the porch would be ready before our community events in October. Nope. Terrible weather and sprained ankles and urgent project emergencies delayed our beloved porch’s progress. We found out our painter was shot in the face in a robbery near his home by an 18 year old looking for cash.
Our builder is helping with some of his projects and managing the crew to serve the painter in this tragic time. The ache is deeper now. It is mid December and the porch is to be finished by the end of the week. I laugh as I wake up to the coldest day of the year. Frost on everything in bitter cold. What a time for a screened porch to be ready! I hear from friends of a young 18 year old who was stabbed in a park in New York just minutes from her college.
A season has passed by with laughter and tears. A face has been marred, a face has been snuffed out. Jesus came for us all, and I do not know what to do but let myself feel the ache of waiting and seek His beloved face.