Friday, August 1, 2008

A cottage

Just got back from three days on Orcas Island where we went to celebrate our birthdays. For the Beve and me, there are two personal events of the year: our anniversary and our birthdays. You see, we have back-to-back birthdays. I've known his since I was nine years old and first learned that the boy across the street had a birthday the day before mine. As I just overheard V tell her boyfriend on the telephone, 'we are truly made for each other.' And a long time ago, we stopped trying to figure out ways to celebrate separately, one day after each other. We just pick something to do and enjoy the holiday together, like two days of anniversary.

So a few months ago, I looked online and saw these delightful cottages in the San Juans where we could stay for the two nights of our birthdays, and thought it would be a great getaway right in the middle of the heat of the summer when the grass had stopped growing so Beve's lawncare business could survive his absence. I booked the 'historical cottage,' complete with fireplace inside and private hot-tub on the deck. And by historical, I mean run-down. The 'beam' running across the pitched ceiling was a 1x4--I'm not kidding. I think Beve could break it with his own hands, so imagine what a sharp wind would do? And the floor slanted beneath the carpet so we had to walk uphill to the bed. When Beve awakened in the night, the mattress--and I--had all shifted toward him, a casualty of the sloping floor.

We opened the hot-tub the first night and a frog was doing the (to be punny) frog kick across the water, leaving quite an oil slick in its wake. After Beve dislodged the frog, I hopped in, not being squeamish about such things, and instantly my legs were covered with a fine sheen of grease. Looking on the bright side, it was nice to think I didn't have to lotion up my usually dry skin after sitting in the water.

I should have known when there were no photographs of these 'historical' cabins that they were actually just rundown shacks, barely habitable, liable to fall down in the slightest breeze. A little paint, some new carpet on top of the bouncy floor, a couple pieces of quarter-round across the top of the gaps in the ceiling, and they were good to go, 'right? Unfortunately, none of the cosmetic 'fixes' really hid the flaws. Beve could step on the floor--merely step on it--and make the lamp shake beside the bed. Put a glass down on a table, and it would roll off. And please God, don't let there be an earthquake, or we'd be doomed under those skimpy beams.

White-washed tombs is what I'm talking about. Fixing up on the outside what is surely just rotting on the inside. Those cabins are a perfect example of what we do all the time. We disguise the reality of situations to make them better than they are--so we don't really have to deal with them. I mean, why would they want to tell us the truth? No one would book those cabins if they knew, right? So, they put a label on them, and business booms. Real estate ads are notorious at this: quaint and cozy mean old and small. Charming also means old. Pastoral means stuck out in the boonies with an extremely long commute. And so it goes. Just to sell something that maybe shouldn't be sold the way it is. Maybe we should be telling the truth, fix our lives so that we can tell the truth about it.

It would cost a lot for that resort to fix those cabins. In truth, they should probably just be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up. And in the short run, it probably doesn't make much sense. But over the long haul, the value would be great. What would be gained would be worth the cost.
Such is definitely true for us. The weak beams holding us up, the oil slicks on our surface, the way we slant off-center--these are dangerous things to put our trust in. And if we're willing to pay the price to knock them down. Let HIM knock them down and rebuild our lives square and whole, with beams strong enough to withstand storms, and water fresh and clean, it's worth it.
There's only one way to do it, of course. It's not remodeling but resurrection, I'm talking about. We have to admit we're dead inside and need Him to resurrect us.
Either to be a 'horror,' as SC Lewis says (In The Weight of Glory) or glorified-- and 'all day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to [this] destination... '
It's a daily choice.

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