While passing through Glenrock, Wyoming, this summer, we stopped to see our old house. We were saddened to see that it was sorely suffering from neglect and abandonment. Windows were broken and boarded up, shutters were missing, some steps of the upper deck stairs were broken, a door was standing open, and an auction announcement was posted on the front door. It was as though I had left my child with a babysitter and come back to find he had been woefully neglected. Just before we moved on, I just had to go close that open door.
Like the house we’re in now, that house was a rescue effort. It was very needy in 1986 when we bought it. During our eight years in it, Gerald brought it back to life. That included transforming the upstairs from two partial rooms and an unfinished space to three bedrooms and a full bath which resulted in a four-bedroom, two-bath house.
I really had to search my heart trying to understand why the current sorry condition of the house mattered to me. The sale of the house in 1994 was very profitable for us, so it’s not because of money. Nor can anything change my sweet memories of our years there which are supported with many treasured photos.
I suppose part of my sadness about the house is that whenever I invest in something, such as a craft, I want it to last and be cared for. I don’t enjoy cooking very much because what I produce doesn’t last. I’m a bit more satisfied with cleaning because it lasts longer than a meal. Gerald worked hard renovating that house and I guess I hoped it would be kept up by others.
Ultimately, I just had to remind myself that it’s only a house – a temporal, earthly thing. During our years in that house, it was an earthly tool God gave us to use in his service. On our recent visit there, God used that tool again, this time to remind me that only that which is eternal -- that which is done for his kingdom and his glory -- will last. Therefore, that is where my heart should be.
The house when we left it in 1994.
The house now. Pictures never show the signs of decay as clearly as we see them in real life, but even here you can see the boarded window, the dead grass, the missing shutters.