Thursday, May 08, 2003


The barn swallows ignore me now.
Every year barn swallows return to our front porch to nest. It has become such a regular occurrence Amy and I no longer remove their nest which is composed primarily of mud, and dog hair both of which are plentiful in our yard. It seems silly to make them build a new home each year, so we just leave it there.

When the swallows first return I have to establish a relationship with them. Since I leave for work in the dark of night the swallows are often disturbed as I bustle out the door gripping my half gallon mug of coffee and fumbling for my keys. The "Mama" swallow will squawk, fly away and then dive bomb toward me in an effort to protect her nest and the babies it conceals. Papa swallow will swoop around but his flight path never extends beyond about 10 feet away. Every year it's the same thing. Mama squawks and Papa flutters and I try to reassure them by saying something soothing like, "Oh I'm not bothering you.. Shut up!".

Inevitably this dance is played out for several days in a row and then it suddenly stops. Today I noticed Mama swallow in her nest as I left. She was asleep. Across the ledge sat the Papa. He was awake but unmoved by my presence. Their home is safe from me and if they're lucky a few dog hairs may fall off me as I pass which they can add to their foundation.


Several years ago our neighborhood was invaded, by the largest homebuilder in America. This company prides itself in building a wide variety of homes, quickly. They are easy to criticize. Some of the workmanship certainly doesn't appear to be top notch and the home designs are limited. Hundreds of homes have surrounded us.

I've been thinking about these houses for the past few weeks from a different perspective though.

I try to walk every day around my neighborhood. I watch these homes built from start to finish. I've also seen something else. Home dreamers.

Home dreamers are the names I've given the couples, usually young couples, I see sitting in their cars in front of "SOLD" signs planted in front of an empty lot often overgrown with weeds. I see them weeks later venturing out of their cars to walk over newly poured foundations pointing to plumbing lines with excitement. The houses that I find easy to deride as cheap and uniform mean something else to "Home Dreamers". Maybe they see quiet nights together in the living room, gatherings with friends on their back porch, kids in the yard...a garden where love and a family can bloom.

Sometimes I wonder if God isn't like those "Home Dreamers". Sitting outside our lives, watching as we grow, envisioning what we will become and when our houses will be ready for Him.

It took me too long to let God inside. I squawked and fluttered and ruffled my feathers. The welcome mat is out now though

I feel welcome in His house too.

"Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me?"