What I Learned From Building A Home

“Home is the nicest word there is,” said Laura Ingalls Wilder. For me, this year has been a journey in discovering what this word really means.

In the past 8 months, we have bought a house, renovated it, got married, moved in, and spent a lot more time on Pinterest than at any other point in our lives (please tell me I’m not the only one!). It has been a thrilling journey of one transition after another, albeit rather bumpy at times, and I am thankful for the road that we got to travel.

As the dust settles from the road, I look back and see that we have found many treasures along the way. The journey brought us through joy, tears, frustration, hope… and they in turn have given birth to life lessons for us, worth their weight in gold.

I have learned to appreciate beauty. Beauty is powerful, and I am learning to appreciate that. I love my home because it is beautiful to me. Its beauty allows my soul to exhale and find rest. It is a peaceful haven, an oasis.

There is nothing that makes its way more directly to the soul than beauty, for we were created for beauty, intended for pleasure. We see this evidenced in the great lengths that God went to in preparing this world for Adam and Eve – lush greenery, flowers and fruit in every color imaginable, animals in so many shapes and sizes. Without a doubt, God loves beauty because He is the origin of all that is beautiful. He is full of color, and surrounds himself with dazzling colors (read: the book of Revelation).

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting,” and I agree wholeheartedly.

In turn, this has taught me to find beauty in all things, even when it’s really hard to. When we first got the keys to our apartment, we couldn’t wait to get in there, plan, and dream about the home we were going to build together. Then we actually got in there and started the work of turning our dreams into reality, and it was not a pretty sight. The first few months that we owned that house, it was ugly. The colors of the walls, the floor tiles… were totally made to kill inspiration & stifle creativity. The ongoing renovation works also meant that it was messy and dirty. As a type A perfectionist who hates mess and uncleanliness, this was a particularly difficult lesson for me. I had to learn, and am still learning, that not everything turns out right the first time… And that’s ok.

As something beautiful began to emerge from the dirt, the mess, the hacking & sawing & hammering, I found that learning to live with ambiguity and messiness (so difficult!), and leaning into the discomfort of it all, is a vital part of the process of raising beauty from ashes. Because that is the way it is with our lives, isn’t it? We are imperfect beings who are being made perfect. It isn’t going to happen overnight, and there will be mess along the way, but the end result is so worth it.

William Morris said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful,” and that is another thing I have learned – Keep things simple.

In our busy metropolitan way of life, our relationships and lives, like our homes, often get so cluttered up. Things get swept under the carpet with the intention of cleaning them up when we have more time… which we never do. Hurts, unresolved issues, wrong relationships, bad relationships, time-wasting habits – all these things are allowed to trickle into our lives and remain there.

In setting up home, I have found that there is true beauty in simplicity, and it is a lesson that permeates through every aspect of life.

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

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Idream of Eden. We were made for the Garden and the full pleasure of paradise. We got separated at Eden and we spend our whole lives searching for a way back into that secret paradise. All of life's pursuit + pain + questioning can be traced back to man's search for home. Our deepest instincts tell us that we are not home outside of this reality, and our souls will never stop searching until we return. Only there will we find rest and our true being. There, we begin to dream again the dreams that have laid asleep in our hearts all along.

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