Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

7/20/2013 (9 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

This place is a home, not because of its facade or its square footage. It is a home because of the people who dwell within its walls

Even if my domicile wasn't really perfect, it had inspired lots of compliments. And that is when I had to come face to face with my vanity, my idolatry of sorts. I defined myself by that house. It was a status symbol in my eyes. When the time came to completely separate myself (to accept that I had to leave behind the nursery with my hand-painted murals, the hardwood floors I so regularly mopped and the big kitchen in which so much of life revolved) my heart hurt.

Article Highlights

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/20/2013 (9 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: idolatry, Moses, attachment, home, holiness, simplicity, lay vocation, evangelical counsels, holiness, Tara K. E. Brelinsky


ZEBULON, NC (Catholic Online) - Attending school in rural Pennsylvania, the "house on wheels" was introduced to me for the first time. Warehoused in tiny, tight rows or planted solemnly in the center of sprawling fields, these factory-produced, moveable abodes seemed so primitive and so, well, so hick-like. An eager, self-important, snobby college student raised in suburbia, I vowed to never, ever be caught dead living in a trailer.

Oh yes, I could get my roommate's argument that the trailer was a convenient source of housing for the less than well-too-do budget conscience dweller, but still I wasn't going to be anyone's Double-Wide Queen (or Single-Wide Princess for that matter). Not on your life.

Aside from teaching me never to say never, God would use the next decade+ of my lifetime to humble me and redefine my ideas of worth.

Fast forward about eight years, a marriage, four apartments and three states later and I was living in my own trailer. Those prefabricated walls, tied down with steel rods, offered our growing family a secure homestead on our own piece of land, but still I dreamed of more. The plan was to live in our mobile home just long enough to earn the money to build a "real" house, the kind pictured in magazines.

Sure I tried my best to make that trailer into a welcoming habitation, covering the walls with hand-selected decorations and arranging the furniture so as to maximize space and invite guests to sit and stay. The fact that we were surrounded by other mobile homes didn't necessarily mean I was actually living in a trailer park, or so I reasoned.

Having only two bedrooms, it quickly became apparent that our family was fast out-growing that little starter home. Not to mention my itch for bigger and better was inspiring me to push ahead in our plans for the real deal. However, after looking into the cost involved to build an ample-sized house on our land it became apparent that it was more economical to buy something already firmly established on a foundation.

How many houses we looked at, I can't remember, but I'll never forget the day we discovered THE ONE. Driving aimlessly around an unfamiliar neighborhood, we spied a For Sale sign planted in the front yard of a white with black trim, corner bungalow. The house appeared vacant, so we used the opportunity to mount the long, southern porch and peer through the windows. It was a dream come true - tall ceilings, expansive rooms, hardwood floors, a fireplace and all the windows I could hope for, not to mention that porch.

This was it, we had no doubts. After arranging with our realtor for a viewing of the interior, we were sold, or rather this seemingly perfect house was.

The next seven years were spent in that house growing our family. We relished the chance to fill it with auction-won furniture and decent hand-me-downs. The walls met the end of many of my brush strokes and our dining room was the scene of so many large dinner parties and school lessons. It met our needs in so many ways and satisfied my notions of worth to a good extent, at least for a while.

Unfortunately, having had little experience in home ownership, we'd chosen a neighborhood that was slowly sliding downhill and the pace of that downward slope seemed to become more rapid each year we remained. Suffice it to say, we witnessed a few frightening moments and knew it was time to retreat.

While I'd envisioned growing old and gray in that house and hosting my grandchildren in that dining room, I began to recognize that plan needed to change. Slowly, I started to notice all those little imperfections that you miss when first you fall in love (like the upstair's sink that was stained blue and the crack in our bathroom that we'd never managed to find the time and money to fix). Something better might just be in store I decided, but in truth that gave me only small consolation. I had formed an attachment to that house. It was my house, my dream house.

Even if my domicile wasn't really perfect, it had inspired lots of compliments. And that is when I had to come face to face with my vanity, my idolatry of sorts. I defined myself by that house. It was a status symbol in my eyes. When the time came to completely separate myself (to accept that I had to leave behind the nursery with my hand-painted murals, the hardwood floors I so regularly mopped and the big kitchen in which so much of life revolved) my heart hurt.

God allowed me a little assistance in breaking free. The buyer's realtor did her best to avoid all protocols of southern hospitality. So by the time the deal was said and done, the taste in my mouth was as sour as a bag of lemons; and I simply wanted to get as far away from town and that house as possible.

But just to make sure I was really getting the message, the move into our new house was fraught with stress and disappointment. From our dogs attacking the goats (they came with the house) on moving day, to kitchen cabinets lined with mouse droppings, I quickly saw every imperfection. The bathrooms needed to be scrubbed with super-human strength elbow grease and nearly every light switch cover had to be replaced. Add to those stressers the fact that our third son was making his First Holy Communion the next weekend and out-of-state company was scheduled to arrive to share in the celebration.

The tears fell in great big drops and I prayed I could call the whole deal off. How was I ever going to get my house guest-ready and uphold my personal idea of perfection? How could God have led me here? Why now? Hadn't I been a good enough wife and mother to merit something better? Didn't I work hard enough to earn something more flattering?

The readings right now are about Moses and His call to lead the people out of slavery in Egypt. How happy they were initially when the Lord provide for their safe passage, but then it didn't take very long for the grumbling. Oh, they complained why did you lead us out here to die; the food isn't good enough; where's that Moses because he's been gone too long; we want an idol to worship, etc. Here were God's beloved chosen ones, who'd witnessed the ten plagues, the parting of the Red Sea, ate their fill of manna in the desert and yet they still weren't satisfied.

Well, by week's end the house was as ready as it needed to be. Not perfect, but it didn't need to be. Family came to share in the joy of our son's sacrament, not to evaluate the party locale. We've been here nearly seven years now and at present it seems we're meant to stay a while longer. This house hasn't fulfilled my dreams, but my dreams never should have revolved around a stick edifice.

This place is a home, not because of its facade or its square footage. It is a home because of the people who dwell within its walls. The Lord has provided us shelter from the storm, met our needs, what more could I ask for? These walls do not define me, but my love for the people within them will.

-----

Tara K. E. Brelinsky is a home schooling mother of seven living children, with six more heavenly ones who intercede (and a little soul expected to arrive in August). Married to her childhood sweetheart, they make their home in North Carolina where they teach Natural Family Planning, grow a garden, raise two dogs, a cat, a fish, ducks, roosters and a flock of hens (in addition to all those wonderful kids). Tara studied journalism a lifetime ago in college, but now she writes simply for the the glory of God. You can read more of her musings and inspirations on her blog "Blessings In Brelinskyville" (www.http://brelinskyville.blogspot.com/).

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for April 2014
Ecology and Justice:
That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick: That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.



Comments


More Living Faith

Making a Difference

Image of Saints Popes John XXIII and John Paul II prophetically raised their voices on behalf of the suffering masses.

By Tony Magliano

Saints Popes John XXIII and John Paul II prophetically raised their voices on behalf of the suffering masses. They spoke truth to power, and challenged all of us to advance the kingdom of God - a kingdom of love, justice and peace. St. John XXIII, affectionately known ... continue reading


Rome being crushed by millions of pilgrims packing into the city for historic canonization Watch

Image of Pilgrims are packing into Rome, creating a logistical and safety problem for city officials.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

All roads lead to Rome and that isn't a happy thing for everybody as the city is being crushed by millions of pilgrims seeking to attend the canonization of Bl. Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. The city's mayor says the city is prepared, but not everyone is happy ... continue reading


John's Paul II's Doctor: I don't know how he survived the shooting Watch

Image of Pope John Paul II miraculously recovered from assassination attempt. After his recovery, he forgave his would-be killer, visiting him in prison.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The doctor to Bl. Pope John Paul II has explained that he doesn't know how the assassin's bullet intended to kill him did not do so. He also talked about the Holy Father in his last days, as he worked amid failing health. "I don't know how he survived the shooting," ... continue reading


Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action' to end global hunger Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis helped launch a worldwide movement to end hunger through prayer and action. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Catholic Online with Your Catholic Voice Foundation is participating, along vwith Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities USA and the ... continue reading


Coptic priest added as Pope Francis' second personal secretary Watch

Image of Some say that the appointment of a Coptic Catholic priest is a sign of  Pope Francis' commitment to dialogue with the Arab and Muslim world.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Coptic Catholic priest Yoannis Lahzi Gaid has been personally chosen by Pope Francis as his second personal secretary. Lahzi Gaid is currently working in the first section of the Vatican Secretariat of State and is also one of the "translators" who reads the ... continue reading


From an Ancient Easter Homily: Jesus Christ, the Source of Resurrection and Life Watch

Image of

By An Ancient Anonymous Preacher

Thus the passion of our Savior is the salvation of mankind. The reason why he desired to die for us was that he wanted us who believe in him to live for ever. In the fullness of time it was his will to become what we are, so that we might inherit the eternity he ... continue reading


TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH: Pope Francis delivers powerful Easter message Watch

Image of Pope Francis enters with his candle symbolizing the light of Christ.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis urged Catholics to share their faith "to the ends of the Earth" during a baptism ceremony at St. Peter's Basilica. The solemn ceremony reminds us that we are called to serve amid the joy of the resurrection. The most enduring call of Christ is for us to ... continue reading


Rome already crushed with pilgrims for historic canonization of Pope John Paul II and John XXIII Watch

Image of Hundreds of thousands packed into Rome for the beatification of Pope John Paul II. This time, the numbers will be far greater.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Rome is well-packed with throngs of pilgrims who have begun a week's long vigil awaiting the most historic canonization in world history. Next Sunday, Popes John Paul II and John XXIII will be canonized by Pope Emeritus Benedict and Pope Francis. ROME, ITALY (Catholic ... continue reading


BREAKING THE RULES or IS HE? Pope Francis washes women's feet and those of undetermined religion Watch

Image of This year, Francis arrived at a center for the disabled and elderly in Rome. Francis kneeled down, washed, dried and kissed the feet of a dozen people, some in wheelchairs, other with grossly swollen and disfigured feet.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has shown little regard for rules in regards to his papacy. The latest controversy now surrounds his washing the feet of 12 disabled and elderly people, some of who were women and non-Catholics. The pre-Easter ritual, Pope Francis is designed to show ... continue reading


'Priestly joy is a priceless treasure,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of The pope, presiding over the first of two Holy Thursday liturgies, blessed the oils that will be used in the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, ordination and the anointing of the sick.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

If a priest wants to overcome moments of sadness, exhaustion and boredom, in addition to discovering his true identity, he must head for the exit sign, going outside himself to be with God and his people, Pope Francis said during the Chrism Mass at St. Peter's ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Peter 5:5-14
5 In the same way, younger people, be subject to the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:2-3, 6-7, 16-17
2 for you have said: love is built to last for ever, ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 16:15-20
15 And he said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for April 25th, 2014 Image

St. Mark
April 25: The second Gospel was written by St. Mark, who, in the New ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter