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 May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


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


Comments


More Living Faith

Teen delivers powerful impromptu invocation during graduation commencement's unexpected emergency Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A high school graduate stepped up to the podium during the Clay-Chalkville High School graduation ceremony and delivered a powerful prayer, after one woman had a medical emergency. The prayer moved the audience so much that his impromptu invocation was cheered for at ... continue reading


Catholic Priest warns participants of 'Charlie Charlie' Challenge summoning a demon is no joke Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Charlie, Charlie" Challenge is a game now infamous on social media that encourage players to summon a demon. According to a Mirror Online, a Catholic priest has issued a letter warning about the dangers involved with doing such a ritual, and that the challenge is ... continue reading


A Baltimorean's reflections on the Baltimore riots

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"The God of peace is never glorified by human violence," wrote the famous Trappist monk Thomas Merton. Whether it's on an individual, city, national, or international level, violence always dishonors God, and makes bad situations worse. The recent Baltimore City riots ... continue reading


Pope Francis admits to giving up TV in 1990 Watch

Image of While being in the eye of the international media, Pope Francis has little time for media. He's just too busy, and pledged not to watch TV after a pledge to the Virgin Mary in 1990.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While frequently in the media's eye, Pope Francis in fact has little time for the media. After making a promise to the Virgin Mary, the Pope claims that he has not watched TV since 1990. He did not even watch the matches of his football team San Lorenzo de ... continue reading


Pope Francis wants to be remembered as 'good guy who tried to do good' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his brief time as the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has done many remarkable things and has captured the world's attention. He came off as surprisingly humble in a recent interview with a fellow Argentinean journalist. Pope Francis says he ... continue reading


Catholics worldwide vow to get the word out on Pope Francis' message on climate change Watch

Image of Environmental advocates, working with bishops, religious orders, Catholic universities, and lay movements hope that there will be a transformative impact in the fight against global warming.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis will release his anticipated teaching document on the environment and climate change in the coming weeks. Over the past several years, more faith traditions have rallied behind environmental protection. Churches have begun to press ecological ... continue reading


The Church Needs to Be Baptized Afresh in the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of Do I still believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for ordinary Christians? You bet I do! I believe that Pentecost still happens. I KNOW it still happens. We can ALL know it still happens because we can experience its effects in our own lives. We should not be afraid of the Holy Spirit! In fact, we should regularly seek to be filled with more and more of the Spirit.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We need to pray for a New Pentecost for the Church in this hour! We need more of the Holy Spirit for the New Evangelization of the Church - so that a renewed Church can engage in the missionary task of the Third Christian Millennium. We need to be baptized afresh ... continue reading


Brotherhood of the Belt: Struggle, Trouble and Failure in the Christian Life Watch

Image of The Martyrdom of Peter

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Peter's wrong choices were not the end of the story of Gods plan for his life. Peter's denial crippled Peter emotionally and spiritually. He lost his way. That was until he encountered the Risen Christ. There, in that encounter, he allowed the belt of ... continue reading


The Purpose of Pentecost is the Birth and Ongoing Mission of the Church

Image of The purpose of Pentecost is the birth - and continued rebirth - of the Church.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Church was empowered by the Holy Spirit to live differently in the midst of a world awaiting the fullness of redemption, to live as a new people to lead the world back to the Father, in and through the Son. Through their experience of the Holy Spirit the early ... continue reading


Top 5 Roman Catholic colleges in the United States Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What constitutes being the best university is oftentimes subjective and usually in adherence to one's beliefs and practices. Choosing a college is one of the biggest decisions many people are making. Some opt for those that offer the best training in the fields of ... 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, Sirach 44:1, 9-13
1 Next let us praise illustrious men, our ancestors ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 149:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 9
1 Alleluia! Sing a new song to Yahweh: his praise in ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:11-26
11 He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple; and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 29th, 2015 Image

St. Maximinus of Trier
May 29: Bishop of Trier, Germany, from 332, and a miracle worker. He was ... 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