O is for Overture


Oh, little did we know.

One year ago, on my grandma’s birthday when we turned down a dusty road toward a dilapidated farmhouse immersed in gold fields and trees, we didn’t know that we were approaching our future home. We didn’t know then that there would be six bids on the property that very same week, or that our offer would be accepted, or that we would close 30 days later. We didn’t know that when we moved in four winter months later, on Easter Sunday, and turned on the well water, that it would smell just like stepping into my grandma’s basement shower. We didn’t know that the first flower to burst forth from the hard earth would be a tulip, or that a neglected garden overgrown with weeds could blush so bountifully in summer’s dusk. We didn’t know that dozens of children and dogs would play here over the first summer, that our cat would present us with dead mice by the score, or that we’d have seven hens ready to lay eggs come Christmas.

A year ago we hadn’t heard the oriole’s refrain, or seen the underside of herons craning toward the creek, or followed the flecks of goldfinches through the speckled branches. We hadn’t felt the grain of the wood that lay below a layer of paper-backed linoleum below a layer of stained carpeting. We hadn’t tasted the barky sweet syrup of boiled down sap from silver maples. Nor had we breathed the wind that carried the smoke of burning, the fragrance of lilacs, or the roiling storms across the prairie.

Neither had we scraped and sweated and spent ourselves. Masked against the demolition dust, we tore, ripped, and pried away the cracked and crusted features and rebuilt—one floor, one wall, one window at a time.

Our work is not finished. Thank the Lord, for we love this work. We love forging through the snowdrifts, plucking the burrs out of our coat fringes and dogs, and figuring and refiguring how to afford the next endeavor.

Many a burdened friend in their company rises,
A heavy heart is soon released to fly.
May their table be blessed with laughter and with grace
And by the comfort of kinship be surprised.

May it be a refuge for their love,
A harbor for their deepest prayer.
May they come to flourish in the grove,
Grow ever nearer to You there.

Prayer for Home, Fernando Ortega


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