Saturday, December 13, 2014

friendly ghosts and rambling thought

Gina ran across this photo today.  It's of her brother Terry Hale and her cousin John Swinford behind the house her father Walter Hale built in the early sixties.  The date on the photo indicates the same month and year that Gina was born. This image shows the house on 401 College Street brick-less. The back deck had yet to be added.

This old house has just turned fifty, and has good bones. It's needed a lot of work and we've been giving it a good bit of needed TLC these past four months. We've been working on the house, trying to get it ready to rent early next year.  I can finally see an end in sight, still repairs to be made, but it won't be long.  The house is completely empty of all it's contents.

John Swinford (in the wheelbarrow) passed away this year on July 29th, on Gina's birthday. John's 60th birthday would've been this December 27th.  It's his first Christmas celebrating the birth of his Lord Jesus at the same table. Terry Hale (pushing the wheelbarrow) gained Heaven on August 28th 2002, at the age of 52. Gina was great with child (Kelsey) when her brother died, and so our twelve year old daughter never got to meet her sweet Uncle Terry.  She would've loved Terry, but then again, I don't know of anyone who could not love that fellow.  Both John and Terry were kind men with gentle spirits.

So this house in this photo is now.  It is strange walking down the hallway and hearing my footsteps and voice echo.  Betty Hale left us a year ago today. She is still missed.  All the contents, her possessions, all traces of her tastes and hobbies are now absent.  Since her passing, the house is merely a shell without her presence.  Today, a year to the day after, the emptiness of this place, the hollowness of the moment makes the realization of her death absolute.

Many days while working here, I've thought of her, imagined her here, her voice, laughter clear in my memory.  She poured out her love to everyone and if she had a fault, is was loving to a fault.  She loved each member of her family enormously and uniquely, and loved her friends as family too.  If that's her fault, it's easy to forgive.

I'm not going anywhere in particular with this post. I am roaming through thought as I have roamed through the house. Home is no longer here, just bones, a house, a place for a different family to come and make it a home again.

I look back only to remember and appreciate the good people who were once in our lives, people who have been a blessing just to know them.  This year it's been an ordeal with loss of loved ones, awkward transitions, hard choices and misunderstandings and the unknown. So much of 2013 was nothing but follow through and trusting God to establish a plan.

Gina and I had a long talk over diner last night at Shoney's.  We talked about where we both were inside, on this day, at this moment.  The house is empty, this weekend a benchmark that we can't completely define.
Amid all uncertainty, we know we love each other and have each other through today and what lays ahead. We both know in our hearts that it's time to let what is gone go, and pursue the future without regrets or sadness. What can't be mended, only He can fix. We are building on what is left, and trusting God for the rest.

Please pardon the digressions and ramblings of this post.  2013 has been an unusual ride.

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