We’ve been researching buying a new house so I’ve been pouring over real estate sites, looking for that sparkler, priced too low for the neighborhood it lives in. A lot of houses in our price range are described as having ‘good bones’. I love this phrase. Basically a nice way of saying, “not much else”, but it makes me want to run to them, step inside the walls and say, ‘I know you!’ I’m certain I could settle into a really nice conversation with these houses, the kind that would build over time and grow with me. Good bones are truly all you need. The structure, the integrity of a thing, is what matters; everything else gets filled in as it comes into relationship with others. I remind myself of this as I approach each house. I’d rather work with what I’ve been given and come up with something unique, than be given perfection and have no where to go.
Coming into relationship with something is spectacular. It pushes you to become more than you were when you met and it doesn’t back down until you have both been transformed. I think of my hodgepodge of friends, all split levels and four squares. I didn’t pick them because they were a complete package but because they had good bones. Together we fill in all the space between and over time this space between becomes a home that we inhabit together. I experienced this when we first moved into our current house. I had never had a yard before and I was overwhelmed with the shrubs and flowers and vegetable garden that needed tending. There were rose bushes that our neighbor would scold me for letting grow over the fence onto the sidewalk but I was hesitant to prune anything for fear I would kill it. Over the course of our first year here I grew more confident and I felt the yard slowly approach me. I could sense a trust growing between us, based on my willingness to listen and observe before imposing my will. I came into relationship with the yard by acting as a steward for its potential.
And so we wait, my husband and I, to find the house that needs a little time to get to know; the house that wants to hunker down for a long conversation and allow us to mortar relationship into the walls. I’m happy for the reminder, a familiar motif, that the only way to create right relationship is to start with a solid foundation.