I have a house, he said.
I hung this picture he sent above my bunk on the ship:
It was 2010. Ben’s parents owned an old abandoned farm site, with one very dilapidated house, an overgrown, unkept grove and falling outbuildings. The sight is not uncommon in the midwest – history fading away. Not much of interest for a 19-year-old boy, until… girl. Dating. Dreaming. Probably marriage. Would need a house, for a wife. For an us.
It needs a little work… he said.
I’m not sure if it was the fact that he had just gotten back from west Africa, where people live in shacks a lot worse, or if he’s just that good at seeing potential, but apparently, this was not daunting at all. I knew nothing about building a house, so, you know, I supposed it would be doable?
That is a vulture (upper right, above) on a dying house. The house had been built more than 100 years before. It was now completely open to the elements, and people hadn’t lived here in years. Racoons, squirrels, mice and who knows what other animals had taken up residence inside though!
A house like this? Should be pushed in a hole. Now we know. It didn’t have any value, according to the tax assessment of the property. I suppose there is an analogy that could be made here about nothing ever being too far gone, that you’re never beyond hope, that with great Love all things broken can be made new…
I will make it beautiful for YOU, he said.
What can I say?
Love is blind.
And Ben is ever the optimist.
Would it be possible?
Read Part 2 in The House series to find out!