A House on the Sand

I wondered for a moment today what it would take to get this house ready to sell it. Not that we’re planning on doing such a thing– that were impossible right now, and anyway, I’m attached to this place.

But the idea has some appeal– getting it ready, I mean. A house for sale is at its best: walls and trim freshly painted, roof clean if not replaced, decks in perfect condition. And then there are the other details, the little repairs seen to, the clutter permanently out of the way, flowers looking Absolutely Perfect in their planters.

This sounds good to me.

I worked hard on some repairs in the house this summer, but like all projects, the Major Task I undertook required far more time than I thought it would. And while the upstairs bathroom really looks splendid now and the linen closet is organized and straightened within an inch of its life, the punch list remains Miles Long: sand and repaint all the kitchen cabinets, sand and repaint all the trim in the house, finish the trim from the basement disaster that happened two and a half years ago, clean out the storage room. Then there are the Other Projects that we can’t get to ourselves: replace the masonry and steps leading to our front door, remove and replace both decks. And last weekend, when we had a major rainstorm, we discovered yet another problem: a leaky skylight in the breakfast room.

What would it be like, I wonder, to have all this taken care of? To have the time and the money to get the appropriate workmen in here and do this work, to get out the elbow grease and give this darling house the lick and polish that it deserves? What would it be like if we were about to sell it, and had it All Ready for the buyer to say, “I’ll take it!”?

But if we did that, then I would want to live here. I would want to enjoy it. I would want that time and expense and effort to get me more than a good offer on my house: I would want to enjoy the improvements for myself.

All this occurred to me this morning as I got ready for church, and it made me think about going Home– that Final Home, that place that will feel more like Home than anywhere I’ve ever been. And I wonder, when I get there, if I won’t wish I had spent my time and effort differently, if I won’t think that Vast Amounts of my life here might have been better spent on Something Else. So much of what I do here won’t come with me when I make that final move.

Whom, I wonder, will I wish I had loved better?

Which makes me think that the paint on the kitchen cabinets can Wait.


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