Friday, June 21, 2013

If these walls could speak...

4 years ago, Rachel and I rolled sunshine yellow over the white base coat of these concrete walls. And just like that, apartment #202 became my home...

my sanctuary.
a refuge.
a church.
a breakfast diner.
a movie theatre.
a dance club.
a nursery.

where new friends became family.
where smells of tropical fruit juice lingered.
where dusty bare feet found a resting place.

As I've dismounted my paintings from the walls, sorted through storage boxes, and selected couch pillows, sentimental mugs and books to pack in my suitcase, I've had plenty of time to reflect on my days spent here. And I've realized that this home has become more than just a shelter, but one of my dearest friends. I've developed an unexpected companionship with these walls as they've silently stood by in my highest celebrations and deepest defeats. These are the walls I've returned to time and time again after days of teaching, hikes to the mountains, long city trips, or months of being with family in Canada.

Through the day ins and day outs, they have developed character just like me. Each nick and scratch has a story to tell... Jagged cement cracks that mark January 12. Oil splatters on the kitchen walls from nights around the kitchen table with neighbours feasting on Bernard's famous pate. A rat-sized hole in the front window screen from that fateful midnight invasion. Purple nail polish drops on the tile floor from girls nights with Teagan and the Rumford sisters. Countless 4x6 frames perched as beautiful reminders of days gone by, and the seasons of people and stories I've been blessed to witness within these walls.

And if they could speak, they would tell of weary girls sprawled on cold kitchen tiles debriefing their days. They would tell of burnt cookies and loud music and dancing on the balcony. They would tell of tears and whispers and long hugs on a red velvet couch. They would tell of early morning sunrise light pouring in on wrinkled bedsheets and acoustic string songs.

... I grieve the day that my squeaky screen door closes for the last time, for behind it lie these stories - memories and laughter, music and tears that I could never forget. With them, a piece of my heart lingers.

But rather than cling to this earthly dwelling which will someday turn back to dust, with each step away, I pray that I may to echo the words of David: Who am I, O Lord, and what is my house that you have brought me thus far? (2 Samuel 6:18). Indeed, He built me this home, and the heartwarming surroundings of colour, laughter and calmness came only from His hand. Underserved, yet lavished upon me anyways. To Him be the glory for his gifts of love, and His faithful presence that resides with us forever.

Maybe someday these walls will speak, and they will testify the Lord's favour and presence that filled them. But until these rocks cry out, I pray that I will recount His goodness daily, proclaiming that He alone is a refuge and a sanctuary for those who wait on Him.


Sandy Rumford said...

Crying and laughing at the same time while reading that. The highs and lows of emotions that took place within those walls is amazing. I remember parent/teacher interviews, Michelle & Jean Marc practicing guitar, laughter overflowing on "girls nights", running in to check on you after MANY after-shocks, relaxing on your couch last January while you were at the beach. Praying for you and looking forward to a summer visit once you are back in Canada. Love you girl!

Sarah said...

As Redeemer is moving forward with their building project, they wrote "The ultimate end of our building project won’t be the grand unveiling in November, it will be the landfill. Buildings don’t last. They are just tools." And what a tool this space was in your hands. God gave it generously to you and you used it generously in the lives of us who surrounded you. You have been a faithful servant and steward!

It is so easy to think of that apartment as home and grieve the loss of what has happened within that tiny home. But I remember that here we have no lasting city, but seek the city that is to come!

Praying for you as these final days come to a close. I love you cheri!

Twila said...

Through the tears.... I am celebrating God's abundant faithfulness, and the countless prayers that HE has answered!! The Lord has blessed you and enlarged your territory~~~ HIS hand of protection and guidance have been so evident!!
I have a special verse in my Bible that has your name beside it..... I have claimed it many times for you!!
Isaiah 58:10,11
And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry, and satisfy the needs of the oppressed.... then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land... and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail!!!

Your life has been a beautiful testimony Diana, and I know that the Lord has great things in store as you follow HIM

love you so so much