Jacques and Pierre came to see me yesterday. Jacques is a foundation specialist. He is kind and quick yet thorough and endearingly shaped like a pear. Pierre is his very French, mostly silent, but keenly observant assistant. In short order, Jacques' experienced eyes picked out several things inside and outside my home that told him that one side of the house has sunk several inches over the past 3 years and it will continue to sag unevenly unless the foundation is reinforced. He gave me the name of a colleague who was equipped for a job of this size and wished me a good day and left. So there it was, confirmed. I now officially have foundation issues.
I was feeling slightly overwhelmed with the news and the giant wrench this was putting in the plans to sell our house for a reasonable profit and move downtown into a cool loft space. So I asked God, "Why? Why did we buy this house? Why is this happening to us?" And very quickly I heard a reply, "This is what restorers do."
We had such a sense that God led us to this specific house when we bought it. And it seems that one of the major reasons we are here at this exact place and time is to restore something. I feel it like a burden, a call, an invitation to make things straight and right. No one wants to live in a house that is sinking, moving, unsound, and unstable. Everyone is looking for something solid, nicely finished and decorated and ready to move into. Some are willing to do the foundational work, building from the ground up. But I think less are up for the grand effort of restoration: dismantling and stripping and digging where the ground has already settled; readjusting and realigning and re-doing because there are issues beneath the surface. Most of us would rather walk away, go somewhere easier. But I have no choice.
Many people who come to visit our church are looking for something ready to plug into, already built and fully functioning with a program or group for every family member. We do not have that to offer. But we do have a grand restoration and rebuilding process that anyone can partake in if they have the faith. It takes a special kind of tenacity and vision to be able to see a holy habitation in a rag tag, vastly diverse group of people from all over the world, half of them transient. But I feel a hard tug on my heart to be here. It is my home. I cannot abandon it.
This is what restorers do.
This is a photo of an inukshuk on the St. Laurent riverbed, rock upon rock.