Some Amish friends found the house for us. They made hay on the place.
We needed somewhere to stay for a few weeks.
It was an ugly house in a beautiful place, though it had once been pleasant.
The countryside that surrounded it was as beautiful and the house was Spartan.
A silver band of river wound through the valley far below.
Above the house there was a dark green wood of hardwood and pine.
Valleys plunged away in front of the house and behind.
Beside it a road ran along the ridge.
It was a pretty place to place a house.
It was green asbestos-shingled and the timbers were broken beneath the floor.
The floor of the bedroom was wavy as the sea in high wind.
A friend vented the hot-water heater so we would not die in our sleep.
There was a cistern over the hill and the furnace was fueled by natural gas drawn from a well on the property.
For some reason the water and the heat never seemed to work together.
It was free.
It was warm.
It was shelter.
It was private.
It was Christmas.
The children sawed the top out of the pine and propped it in the corner to celebrate – they were hardy souls – the children.
We nearly burned down the barn when the fire of Christmas wrapping got out of hand. We went away and came back to be greeted by a fleet of fire trucks and a blackened valley falling away behind the house. It was sobering. By the hand of God the wind shifted the fire away from the barn.
The ugly Green House on the beautiful ridge near Walhounding.
We lived there for a few weeks, visiting elsewhere as often as possible
We were all sick the entire time we stayed there.
It was as close to homeless as I ever hope to come.
After the first of the year we found a clean, cozy, temporary apartment and camped out there until the house we leased was available a few miles from the church where we lived for the rest of our ministry in Knox County.
Sometimes beautiful things happen in ugly houses.
Sometimes ugly things happen in beautiful houses.
Jesus, You are my life. You created our Home, thank you for the beautiful house you are allowing us to occupy. Help us make beautiful things happen there.
Campton in the Mountains of Eastern Kentucky
June 28, 2007