“There are many homes up there where my Father lives, and I am going to prepare them for your coming. When everything is ready, then I will come and get you, so that you can always be with me where I am. If this weren’t so, I would tell you plainly. ”
~ Jesus, John 14:2 [TLB]
I remember Sundays after church when Dad, Mom, my sister and I would meet up with a family of friends at the end of the pew, head about 15 minutes out of town by freeway, travel through the hilly pass to the usually saved for special occasion treat of restaurant breakfast. I remember the thrill of ordering mugs of marshmallowy hot chocolate, baskets of oven-warm and blueberry-bursting muffins, plates of butter-basted hashbrowns, conniving an extra sausage link or two from Dad. And the fun of listening in on the grownup talk… the bantering laughter from dad to dad, mom to mom… the reveling in a a whole day stretched before us together.
“Let’s check out the model homes!” Mom and best friend Kathy would chorus, as though the idea just came to them stepping out of the restaurant. The two men would give each other that look…but the twinkle in their eyes belied their mock moans while we kids grasped each others hands, hopping and skipping and chanting – “Yay! We’re going to look at new houses today!”
Even in those days, walking through fantastically decorated rooms in burgeoning new construction areas that weren’t there only months before, breathing in the scent of fresh paint, running my fingers gently across gleaming tables, enjoying nooks and crannies cleverly carved out here, there… well, it held a certain entrancement for us. Like going to the movies and letting your imagination soar over homes and places and creative ideas you’d never envisioned before.
It was never about wanting more than we had, or envying or coming home disillusioned with life as we knew it… but more about dreaming how we might achieve a certain look we loved with a bit of ingenuity or crafting of our own. Or… just simply enjoying the beauty of color and design, the living painting of rolling green landscape just outside the windows. And forming ideas about what makes a home warm and lovely and filled with love… and what is just maybe a tad… too… picture perfect.
Books I read and classic movies I enjoyed implanted me with such home dreams too.
Of quaint cottages by the sea, breezes stirring through sheer curtains on open windows and the somehow at once mysterious and endearing sound of clocks that ring with ship bell chimes.
Of cozy window seats flanked with soft pillows and attic rooms overlooking neighborhoods and stocked with one comfy and oversized wing chair where I might curl up with a book and read for simply hours…
Of Colonial houses with bay windows and dormers and crisp, white mantel-topped fireplaces... and candles warming corners with fingers of light…
Similar to my friend’s home just down the street – a tiny charmer of Early American quaint with it’s bay window and dormers, simple but warm and cozy decor of woven rugs by the hearth and pretty colored glass bottles gleaming on shelves. I’d never heard of Anne Shirley back then…but if I had, she would have been a most kindred spirit for she was ever on adventure in her home of dreams…
Over time, reading of God’s intricately detailed instructions to His people for carving beauty into the best woods, laying out the design of buildings and other structures… I see His extravagant joy in beauty and architect. Feel His smile on such dreams. For what loveliness can man dream that God has not placed the seed for in him?
Now, as I plan out this home portrait… I walk along the neighborhood where this home of my drawing gleams white in the sunlight. It smiles in the warmth of it, I fancy, and at the caressing touch of shadows upon it’s walls. Light painting so bright, it erases lines of siding and softens shapes of white bricks from view… casts lovely shadows from those tiny evergreens by the front door and sparkles on the flower wreath. Somehow… igniting a feel of Christmas expectancy in me, like the anticipation of family and friends about to arrive for celebration of that day.
But – there is no snow, the trees are full and the grass is manicured, you might say. How could it evoke Christmas day?
I think for me, it’s because I grew up in a non-snow area where Christmas Day might just shine like this. (The original of this drawing is so big, and the scan so reduced that you can’t really see what I mean as clearly as in person…but perhaps if you click on it, then click again, you might catch a glimpse of that festive air by the door 🙂 )
There are no ornaments on those tiny Christmas trees… still, they give me the feel of it. Along with the flower topped wreath, like a star!
And standing on the sidewalk, I hear the wind soughing through the trees. Leafy arms soar so high above, stirring the whisper of peace on earth, in this moment, all around me…
The windows wink in the sun as if they know a secret.
The bay invites me to glimpse a carved seat just inside.
As I step here, there amongst the flowers, surreptitiously… snapping pictures to help me capture its essence on paper…I think back on those homes we used to tour on long ago Sunday afternoons. Of the fun it still is to explore a local parade of homes with friends as I did just recently… We stand in amazement at showy opulence, let our dreams waft through cozy neighborhoods of smaller but still lovely designs… feel the peace of homes carved out upon rolling hillsides sigh over us.
Words spill softly into my mind then, like water singing over brook —
There are many homes up there where my Father lives…for I am the Architect of Extravagant Love
— together with the image of our Father, stringing lights by the door… planning and awaiting us, even more than Christmas.
And suddenly this joy we have in architecture and design seems like one more seed He’s planted in us, writing HOMEWARD in our hearts…
© Pam Depoyan
What style of house makes YOU feel like you’ve come home?
Happy Father’s Day!
Pen and ink, mine. Please don’t copy without permission.