Rebuild house
Great Yarmouth

Rebuilding the House - March 2021 (first published in EDP)

A few weeks ago my next-door neighbours moved out. The next day the builders arrived and started work.

Except that 3 weeks later they still haven’t built anything. What they have done is used a pneumatic drill to break up the floors, torn down walls, ripped out cabinets, and removed skip load after skip load of rubble. Some of it was painful to watch, especially seeing the garden destroyed which my neighbours had loved and nurtured. But today one of the builders showed me some of the rubble in the skip, and explained to me that they had to break up the floors because they were crumbling.

I guess that for many people, the last year has felt like that house. Everything has been ripped out including what was precious and loved. It has been hard work, painful and seemed to go on forever. What’s left feels like an empty shell. And I believe that it is right that we grieve together and recognise the pain of those who feel their hearts have been forcibly removed along with everything else.

But today the builders also told me that the work of destruction in the house has now finished. It’s time for the work of rebuilding, filling, furnishing and decorating to begin. I believe that moment is coming for us as individuals and communities too. The vaccine is being rolled out and we are beginning to look to the future. The time will come for replacing the crumbled floors with firm foundations, restoring some of what has been lost and introducing new things too. The Bible gives us hope that even when everything seems desolate and destroyed there is hope for new life and fresh starts. God speaks in the book of Isaiah to the crushed people of Israel that “your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.”

And in this we face a choice. We can choose how the house is restored. In the book of Philippians in the Bible, Paul writes: “from now on brothers and sisters, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things: all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely and all that is worthy of praise.” It seems to me that these would be ideal things to fill our lives and communities with.

Anna Heydon, Great Yarmouth