You just inherited a dilapidated, crumbling-down grand mansion in the countryside. Assuming money is no issue, what do you do with it?
Whenever my friends and I would go to the Poconos for camping, we would pass a beautiful old house. We tried to obtain permission to look inside, but never found the right person to ask; so we could only imagine what the house held. I’m fairly certain it was a magnificent proud house in its time- fireplaces in each room, red shutters on the outside, manicured flowerbeds surrounding it, victorian-style wallpaper, hard-wood floors, wall-to-wall bookshelves, and a piano in the drawing room. There were probably summer parties on the lawn, which included croquet and fresh-squeezed lemonade.
We often dreamed of magically turning that house into a home for children who are lost in the foster care and have no where to go.
That has been a dream of mine ever since I myself was a child (not turning that specific house into a children’s home, but having a safe place for children to visit and spend time–even if only through weekly clubs or summer camps). I remember traveling through New York when I was about twelve or thirteen, and as we drove through the back streets, I looked at the children’s faces. My heart completely broke in half for them. They never had the chance to be raised in a good home with parents that loved each other and their children. Their eyes portrayed hopelessness, and their mouths had barely ever laughed or smiled. God had told me at that moment that I was supposed to be there for hurting kids, no matter where or when. I was supposed to always have open arms and a tender heart so that I could be the love of God to them.
So if I inherited a grand mansion in the countryside with endless money supply, that dream would finally come true.
It sounds crazy and big, I know; but just imagine the possibilities! It would be turned into a safe place for children. A place where there was no belittlement, abuse, hatred, screaming… A place where they were given a chance to be part of a family. A place where they could come for a few days, a few weeks, a few months, or however much time was needed. There would be cozy carpet on the family-room floor for a homey feel. There would be a place to sit and talk with each other. There would be a nice big room to fill with Christmas presents, popcorn garlands, and evergreens over the holidays. There would be a library filled to the brim with adventures and imaginary destinations. There would be a kitchen where everyone could help with the meals and learn how to cook. The bedrooms would have a personal feeling, a feeling like they belonged to the child and weren’t just another random place along the way. Of course, the one room would be turned into a music room, full of instruments and music.
There would be bedtime stories and Saturday night pizza parties. There would be a lovely outside full of gardens and flowerbeds where the children could learn to work, enjoy the outdoors, and watch things grow. There would be animals, lots and lots of animals…..dogs, horses, chickens, cats, cows….
We would look for crocuses and fill the house with daffodils and buds from tree branches in the springtime. We would splash in the stream, go fishing, walk barefoot in the garden, catch lightning bugs, make iced tea, play games, and swing during the summer. Over fall, we would rake leaves and jump into the piles, and we would finish out the gardens and canning that needed completed. We would have hayrides and campfires, complete with s’mores, singing, and hot chocolate. In the winter, we would have opportunity to go sledding and build snowmen.
The house would be called “Finally Home”, and a plaque on the front porch would read, “You are welcome here. God has filled this house with so much love that as you enter through these doors, you will feel safe, loved, and important. This is your home as you live here.”
And in the evenings, as we sat on the porch and watched the sun set, the children would see that plaque and know that it was true- they were finally home!
postaday, daily wordpress, http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/reviving-bricks/