About My Brother’s House


This article first appeared on lauriegreenwestlake.com

There are, in life, timeless moments. Glimpses of something unearthly, surreal. A beautiful thing, but also a haunting, a calling of sorts, that pulls you into a space that can’t be described; a space that holds you captive even though it’s fleeting.


My brother’s home is a home that has brought our family, his family, laughter and love—one of those homes that’s full of interesting and good things: Collections of goods that have a past—deep stories that lie beneath the barrels of antique guns, pottery, art, and shelves and shelves of written history.

It is a home where family Christmases are celebrated, meals shared, and generosity practiced.

It is a home of homes. Built by their own hands (mostly). Their abode is one of those unexpected structures that has a room added here and an upstairs there. A quirky garage whose walls are adorned with wooden planks, lovingly hand-hewed then placed in a mix-matched order just so you will take the time to stop and ponder the wood’s delicate grain.

There, my brother and his family planted an orchard, a tree farm, a family. There, they invited guests from other countries, prisons, and anyone who needed a place to stay. There, they not only lived abundant, but fought the things of country life: mice, hot summers, chilly winters, the occasional copper head, and a raccoon invasion.

So when the house burned to the ground, nothing but a heap of twisted metal and ashes left, I mourned with them, but also for myself. That place was like an old friend. One that welcomes you in, unchanged, other than a few cosmetic lifts over the years.

But when the smoke cleared and a vacant space hung where a grand porch once stood, my heart sank. And I, overwhelmed with sadness, couldn’t imagine what my brother and his wife must be feeling, not knowing that the chosen moment, that sudden grasp that seizes your heart, stood at my door.

In the rush to help them rebuild, to replenish the sweaters, the boots, the jewelry, the dining table of shared stories, I might have missed it.

Isn’t that what we do?

We rush in to fix things.

But in their called Holy Spirit and Job-like moment, my brother and sister didn’t rush to fill the void. They did the unthinkable. They praised God.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds …” James 1:2

Me, in a hurry to rebuild what seemed to be lost, realized that nothing at all was lost, but a rich and valuable treasure was gained (Matthew 13:44). It wasn’t the house, the hearth, or the quirky dishes my sister-in-law loved to collect. It wasn’t the farm feel, the worn work boots by the door, or the buzz of activity around their projects.

It was them. Two people, embracing their life journey and sharing it with others.

It was their character, their love, their process of reflecting Christ.

And when he told me, the love they received after the fire felt like what he imagined heaven to be like, I found my moment. I let go of the material and embraced who my brother and sister really are–people of outstanding, godly character.

I am so glad I didn’t miss it. I breathed it in. Let the house go.

They are my earthly home. My children are my earthly home. My husband, my mother, my father, the body of Christ, these people are the warm, wooden floors beneath my bare feet. They are the banquet at my table.

The moment.

Now I pray, when you are stripped of all this world has to offer, that you realize who you are: the treasured gold within God’s loving hands.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6.

And we are. We are filled.

– Laurie


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