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all things new

For those who don’t know already, we’ve been busy. Rob received a call to be pastor at a church in Prince George, Virginia, and we moved here just two weeks ago. We really like the area and are enjoying exploring a new place. We love the church, the people who are the church and have been nothing but kind and encouraging. We love our home. It is a good location, in a nice neighborhood and has all we need and so much of what we want.

And our home has been an adventure of its own. After viewing a few places to rent back in April and May, we were pretty discouraged. All of them needed a lot of work to be livable. Some of them were outright nos even though they had a lot of character and clearly some history. History is great. Except for when you have small kids. I mean the kids love living museums but actually living in one that operates like it’s still in the 1800s doesn’t quite cut it for us.

I wrote a brief blog, just a few sentences really, about something called “ruin lust.” Sounds wrong, but it’s just this trend particularly among photographers of admiring ruins, like old dilapidated buildings, rotting wood furniture, rusted metal, etc. I personally love it. I find such color and wonder in rust and mold and stain. Not in my bathroom or any where near my kids’ hands, mind you. I like them in PHOTOS, looking and admiring from a distance where none of it will get on my clothes or smell.

I was reminded this week as I was cleaning out the yard of our new home how much is left to rot. Whoever lived here last decided to just move on and leave behind big piles of crap. Really random crap. Broken stuff. A piece of furniture beyond recognition but clearly was once together and useful. And if not useful, pretty. The legs were turned and sanded, and it was probably quite lovely little piece. Not so much now in its big pile of dirt and leaves and random garbage thrown together in a heap tucked away behind a shed in the back corner of the yard.

As I piled up the pieces of wood, it made me think about entropy and nature. I thought about how when things are left alone, they just rot and decay. I thought about how this is true of all things. Nothing gets newer. Few things get better with time, at least not without a lot of care. It all made me think about how we clean and fix and repair, but we decide at some point to just replace and discard. I thought about how we just let things go for far too long, thinking “something” will happen, some miracle maybe, and we stop any effort. We stop caring too. For things. For people. We see everyone who requires any effort as old and needing to be replaced some day when we can afford it, when we can hide it somewhere, when we can move away from it.

Oh God, forgive us for seeing people as ruins beyond the cost of repair. Forgive us for neglecting relationships, family and friends, weary of working at the hard, stubborn stains of the past and forgetting that there is more than enough grace power to remove them all. Forgive us for letting our marriages grow stagnant and slowly dissolve like standing water left out in the yard. Forgive us for forsaking local churches like they are bad stock options run by tired, old chairman with old ideas. Remind us that You don’t see “potential” but the future. The absolute truth that You WILL make all things new, that You are working on us all even now, and that Your power is the Source of our hope for what is to come and we do not remake anything ourselves and in our own strength. Renew our hope in what is to come. Give us glimpses of that truth, like rays of sun after gloomy weeks. Show us beauty in the dark. Do the impossible and the improbable, and give us the honor and joy of joining in the work. This is You in all Your glory.

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