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On my hands and knees, scrapping years of paint off the trim, I thought about the children who have played there and my own daughter who will play there soon.

It seems strange to think about a house offering hospitality and yet and I can’t shake the feeling of welcome I get from this house. Welcoming us into the next chapter in our lives. It’s 120 years old, a lot of life has been lived there. I’m surrounded by remnants from a life I’ll never experience; a patched-up hole in the wall where the wood burning stove used to be, caps on the ceilings where oil lamps used to hang. And here we come with our modern ideas and expectations and WIFI…the old farmer who built this place couldn’t have imagined the life his house would live.

Homes have lives of their own, like the old saying “if these walls could talk.” I’d love to hear what my walls have to say, the laughter and tears they’ve heard and the changes they’ve seen. The wisdom they might share with us. To still be standing tall and proud, as homes were built all around and the neighborhood changed, is quite an accomplishment- chipped paint and all. Not unlike the rest of us, wisdom is hard fought. You don’t earn it without the scars to prove you’ve been through it all. Fortunately for most of us, life is long. As I reflect on my (admittedly short) time on this earth, there have been major moments I was sure I would never recover from. Circumstances I was certain would ruin my life forever. Every single time I thought my life was over, it wasn’t. Seasons come and go, time marches on, life changes in unexpected ways.

Someone used to love and care for this place, but it hasn’t gotten much love recently. So, we repair cracks in the plaster and clean the floors and paint the walls. It feels like a reimbursement, of sorts, for the life we’ll live within its walls. We’re adding our own family’s personality to the house, while still remembering the wisdom gained over the last 120 years. As we restore it, I pray that our home will be a safe place, a place for our family to rest and reconnect and prepare to be brave and kind and generous out in the world. Just like the old farmer who built it, I don’t know what comes next for our family, but I do know where we’ll be.

Kelsey Hart is a friend and supporter of Celtic Way.

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