I may have mentioned once or twice that my parental units purchased an old Methodist church building, which we are currently in the process of ‘remodeling’ into a home. In the process of this endeavor, my father found a box of ‘memorabilia’ connected with the congregation that used to gather within these walls each week.
Although most people would see this as a box of junk to be thrown out at the earliest possible convenience, we have been lucky enough that these meager remnants provide a peek at the lives that marched along here before us, and at the decorating scheme as well!
Among the items tossed into this box were ledgers detailing who pledged money to build the new building (our house that is…it was built sometime around 1932!), a list of ministers through the 1960s, a few pictures and business meeting notes, and a video tape. The video itself is not very exciting, just a small group of people meeting in 1992 for the 80th anniversary of the building. However, we were able to see where certain key pieces of architecture (like a short staircase) should be located, the color scheme of the auditorium and kitchen areas, and a few people that we know from around town in all of their early 90s glamour.
OH! And there’s a shuffleboard under the icky carpet in the basement. Can’t forget the shuffleboard!
The most important thing that was left behind in that box though, was not the video tape or the meeting notes. No, the most important thing that we found was a better sense of the building’s life. That’s not something that we often think about in this day and age. Most people grow up, move away, and don’t really give much more than a stray thought to that old building down the block. As time marches on, old buildings fall into disrepair and new buildings are built up. That is the way of life for us now. But on occasion a historical building will be brought back to life, the beauty shined up and repaired, so that those who once fidgeted in its seats can walk through with wonder at how good the old gal looks.
Sometimes just seeing that can be the trigger to seeing everything in a whole new light. So when you see that dirt smeared, paint covered, tired person repainting railing or raking out ragged planting beds, smile and wave because that’s probably just one of us, trying to bring an old building new life.
Look around at the buildings on your block today. Look at your home, look at your place of work, and look at that old graceful store that’s so out of place on that street. These buildings are place holders, people come and go and new ones take the empty spots and the buildings tell tales, give directions, and wait for new life.
May you have a blessed day today, no matter what building you are in.