Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

7/20/2013 (1 year 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.

Highlights

By Tara K. E. Brelinsky

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

7/20/2013 (1 year 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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

5 Disney movies you never knew had hidden religious messages Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Disney movies are a well-known and well-loved part of most people's childhood. These stories talk and teach us things, like believing in ourselves and follow our dreams. Recently, the stories inspire courage and kindness, as well as forms of "true love." But viewers ... continue reading


5 excellent tips on how to read the Bible Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Bible is one of the most popular published books ever written in the history of life, but also one of the hardest to read and understand. Unlike most books published today, the Bible contains a lot of statements that are full of dates, metaphors and written to ... continue reading


Unholy political positions in the Holy Land Watch

Image of

By Tony Magliano

As the minds and hearts of Christians throughout the world focus on the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, we naturally think of the Holy Land. Throughout much of history, in the land where the world's savior taught human beings to love one another as ... continue reading


200 Christian teachers denied day off for Good Friday Watch

Image of The 2014-2015 school years are the first time in recent memory that officials scheduled classes during both Good Friday and the Jewish holidays.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Rhode Island school district is being sued over the claim that 200 Christian teachers were denied requests to take Good Friday off from work. The teacher's union claims that the decision denies educators the two religious days that they are afforded in their ... continue reading


For the first time in over 150 years -- Blood of St. Januarius liquefies during Francis' visit to Naples Watch

Image of According to legend, Januarius was allegedly born in Benevento to a rich patrician family that traced its descent to the Caudini tribe of the Samnites.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the first time in over 150 years, the blood of St. Januarius liquefied in the presence of a pope this past weekend. The phenomenon occurred when Pope Francis visited Naples this past weekend. It was the first time the blood liquefied in the presence of a ... continue reading


Church to Canonize Mom and Dad of St Therese, Show the Holiness of Christian Marriage Watch

Image of Pictured: Louis and Zelie Martin, the Mom and Dad of St Therese
For those called to live their Christian life in a consecrated Christian marriage, it is in the domestic church where progress in the spiritual life finds its raw material. The question we face every day becomes whether we live Christian marriage and family as a Christian vocation by responding to grace.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Louis and Zelie married in France in 1858. They had nine children. Five entered a consecrated or religious life in the Church. We have 218 letters which were written by Zelie.  They record the naturally supernatural pattern of a very real, human and devout ... continue reading


Drinking the Chalice of the Lord: Facing Suffering, Struggle and Failure Watch

Image of All of those who bear the name Christian are invited to follow the path of Jesus' struggle, to walk along with Him on the way of His rejection. We too are invited to climb the mountain of His great saving act of unmerited selfless Divine love. Golgotha beckons.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

James was the son of Zebedee and brother of John. From faithful stock, we see in this encounter that some forms of zeal may indeed be genetic. In fact, the zeal in both of these brothers caused the Lord to name them the Sons of Thunder.(Mk 3:14-17) However, human ... continue reading


7 endangering myths Christians believe about other Christians Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Disheartening isn't it? But it has been observed that Christians are divided among themselves. This is not what God wanted, as expressed by the writings in the Scriptures. However, there are some issues between the believers that makes them not united as they should ... continue reading


Josephs Way: Joseph, Husband of Mary, Model for Christian Men Watch

Image of The Dream of Joseph led to the response of a life given over to God

By Deacon Keith Fournier

In an age that has lost its way, because it has succumbed to the selfish pursuit of illusory pleasure, Joseph needs to be lifted up as a model for men who truly want to follow Jesus Christ. It is time for Christian men to follow his example, and become men again. ... continue reading


Pope tells Nigeria's bishops to form united front against terror group Boko Haram Watch

Image of In addition to addressing various issues, the Pope praised Nigeria, with a population of more than 170 million people, and has experienced strong economic growth.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

As the emerging African economic powerhouse of Nigeria takes to the polls, Pope Francis, in a stirring message, has urged the country's bishops to build a united front against the Boko Haram terrorist group. Pope Francis' comments came in a letter to the ... 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, Isaiah 50:4-7
4 Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple's tongue, for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 22:8-9, 17-18, 19-20, 23-24
8 'He trusted himself to Yahweh, let Yahweh set him ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 15:1-39
1 First thing in the morning, the chief priests, ... Read More

Reading 2, Philippians 2:6-11
6 Who, being in the form of God, did not count ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 29th, 2015 Image

St. Berthold
March 29: Considered by some historians to be the founder of the Carmelite ... 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