I’m convinced our house is haunted.
On Halloween night there was a very noisy thunderstorm outside. The downstairs heater was persistently clanking and sounded like something out of a horror movie. I was cleaning out the fridge, went to get a trash bag, and realized our kitchen sink was leaking. I then turned around to notice that spots of drywall were falling from the ceiling onto the floor. Also, the carpet was wet… Which led me to realize that the spot of water I had walked over earlier in the evening was not from a spilt water glass but was actually coming from a leak in the ceiling. Several frantic texts in our group-chat, and some strategic placement of buckets later, I decided to retire to my bedroom and pray our house would still be standing the next day. Fortunately, it was.
Thank God for Tom Long, Jim Elliot, Mike Frascella, and all other members of the property committee who help to keep our house running and cockroach free.
I was somewhat reluctantly assigned the role of property committee coordinator because I experienced a plumbing emergency with my older sister right before moving here. The tread on one of our bathtub faucet knobs broke so water started going everywhere. I learned the importance of emergency water shut off valves. So when we moved in here I started asking questions like where water shut off valves and circuit breakers are and people assumed that meant I knew things.
There seems to be a constant list of things to fix in this house. The repeatedly clogging downstairs toilet, the washing machine that only runs hot water, the tile that needs to be re-caulked otherwise water from the upstairs shower will leak onto the bedroom below, the broken spray hose on the kitchen sink, the list keeps growing. Sometimes taking care of this house feels like playing with one of those children’s toys where once you plug one hole the water starts flowing out of another one, and you can never seem to plug all of the holes at once.
That being said, I’m very glad my job is just to communicate and not to actually have to do any plumbing myself. Because we have been keeping the property committee on their toes this past month, I was really grateful to have the opportunity to give back to the church through our parish work day a few Sunday’s ago.
As I was cleaning out the choir pews near the front of the sanctuary it occurred to me how much attention is required in order to clean something properly. As I was wiping down the choir pews I found myself wondering how many generations of people had sat in them. I noticed spaces and scuff marks and cracks in the sanctuary that I never would have otherwise. The cracks in the plaster made the church more, not less, beautiful to me. In large part that was due to the great number of people who came out to take care of the building together.
Our rector Amy told me once the most honest thing we do in church every Sunday is ask for forgiveness for our sins. One of my favorite parts of church service has always been taking communion (and not just because it meant the sermon was finally over). Communion to me is an acknowledgement of the brokenness inside of all of us, and a commitment to work on that brokenness in community within one another. That’s what I love about church. There are cracks in the plaster, but we polish the pews together.
Our little house may be broken, but it is beautiful. The same goes for our little community.
While I am still convinced that our house is haunted when my radiators start talking to each other in the middle of the night, I am now convinced that it is haunted by a spirit of love. The people who lived and worked here before us left their mark upon the place. I feel comforted that there were people who came before us and there will be people who come after us. We have a great foundation, and even though it may have felt like it on Halloween, the roof will not actually cave in on us. We have a whole committee to make sure of it.
PS: We still might invite Shayna back to bless our house again, just in case we have a Casper the friendly ghost situation on our hands.