Bleak House

When the wind blows, the chimes hanging from a tree branch make their music, but nobody is there to hear it.

It’s a house destroyed. Not just the building, but the people who once lived there.

Whatever love was there died, and with it, an entire family.

The house didn’t fall apart over night. It took a long time for the real damage to become evident. No maintenance. No caution and care about keeping things up. Then roof tiles began to blow off, the rain began coming in, and the ceilings collapsed. The wood rotted, the drywall fell off the studs in soggy chunks. No safety and no protection from the elements were left.

There is a piano in the corner that used to make music. It is covered in rotted drywall now. Grandchildren used to like to sit and play it. In the sound of the wind blowing through the broken windows, you sometimes can hear an echo of their laughter as they used to play in the grass and ride their bikes in the driveway and climb the trees. Those voices are long gone.

This is a house that sin killed. Hypocrisy. Lies. Selfishness. Pride. It gradually poisoned everyone who lived here. One little bit at a time.

Innocence died. Tenderness died. Forgiveness died. Faith died. All that’s left are ruins. Others saw the destruction and wondered. How could…? No. There must be some mistake.

Nobody cared enough to help. Nobody could help in the end. Pride was more powerful than anything. Malice was more powerful than anything. Even more powerful than the God they claimed to serve and believe in. They didn’t say that. They just lived it.

So the wind chimes blow aimlessly in the wind. Nobody ever hears them anymore.

15 thoughts on “Bleak House

  1. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    That’s exactly the point of the post. Tend our homes carefully lest our houses look like this one.

  2. Christina says:

    Well said Ingrid, I like when you wrote “Pride was more powerful than anything”. It is so true. It seems that a lot of the time pride is overlooked. There are so many verses in the Bible that address it. We need to always be on our guard.

  3. Kimberly says:

    I lived in this kind of situation growing up. It’s a good description of it. Good cautionary post. I don’t want my family to ever get here. Thank you for bringing this to mind . It’s easy to get complacent about things.

  4. darlene Schreiner says:

    Ingrid your heart is opened for us all to see. What a incredible description of the break down of a family. I miss hearing you so much. I feel like a lost friend.

  5. Donna says:

    I am both saddened at the obvious pain/hurt you describe and awed by how beautifully you write. I send my sincere hopes that the former will subside and appreciation for the latter.

  6. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    This post is about any family that lets stuff build up to the point of destruction. The post is an altered version of a journal piece I used 3 years ago for the writing class that I took. The book Melissa by Taylor Caldwell is a fictional story of a family like this. I once heard a pastor say that families are a foretaste of eternity – they can either be the closest thing to heaven on earth, or the the closest thing to hell on earth.

  7. Jeremy says:

    Very insightful post, Ingrid. The most insightful part: “It took a long time for the real damage to become evident.” For so long, one just assumes that the rotten wood and leaky roof are isolated events. “Do all Houses have these problems?”, one wonders. Finally, the events became too frequent or one event is so catastrophic that it forces one to see the House for what it is. After that roof collapse, it becomes apparent that one must move out. But remembering back, even when the roof stood, one can’t recall a time when the House was a pleasant place to live. One almost feels a slight sense of gratitude toward that exploded sewage line or collapsed roof for getting them out.

  8. Darlene says:

    Whats really sad is that even when the house collapses some inside still don’t see the damage. It makes me think of termite damage. All looks good from the outside. Than one day someone in the house sees the damage and calls for help before the termites break through for all to see but still some inside still refuse the help. There are time when a structure is so damaged that the only cure is total collapse. Than one can start to build again on a solid foundation. Think of how long it takes a termite to cause all that damage. It might also take that long to build anew.

  9. Ingrid Schlueter says:

    Darlene, at the end of the book Melissa, the house where so much damage had been inflicted by the father of the story that the adult children bulldozed the old house. When you said what you did it reminded me of that powerful line at the end of the book. It’s such an accurate metaphor.

    Jeremy, you said it so very well. We don’t see what is in front of us sometimes until finally, there can be no more denial. The house has collapsed. You can’t live there anymore. Time to move on.

  10. carolynb says:

    Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    Those who have put their faith in Christ will see how God will take this kind of wreckage and restore the years the locusts have eaten.

    Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think , according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

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