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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Home (01/09/06)

TITLE: Light and Life
By Beth Muehlhausen


Light and Life

I know all the crooks and crannies of a spacious old dwelling - one of those antique places with lots of Victorian brick-a-brack everywhere. We were intimately connected even back before the upheaval that changed it forever.

It seemed a sad home for so long: run-down, dark, and haunted. Hidden secrets popped up unexpectedly here and there – scary secrets like skeletons in the hall coat closet, and boxes full of unfinished business in the kitchen pantry. The entire structure reflected ongoing struggle and fear. Each cob-web-filled room represented gloomy loneliness. Was this place truly hopeless?

Over the years, furtive ghosts took over, spreading guilt and fear throughout. These liars indwelt the home a little at a time until it was filled with deceit.

And then one day a ragged, rotten attic curtain finally fell to the floor – a feeble symbol of relinquishment. A ray of light shone through the tiny, exposed window, sending a single shaft of brilliance across the bare rafters. It seemed such a small thing, but the light ushered in more than brightness. It warmed the forlorn boards in such a way that the wood fibers seemed to swell with new desire. They sighed with relief after years of cold paralysis.

After sunset, the empty attic reverted to barrenness without the influence of that precious stream of light. “If only I could have a voice.” thought the attic! “If only – I could be heard!” A desperate plea breathed through the thick, stale attic air with a hoarse whisper: “Come back, light! Come back and stay – please!”

Thankfully, the next day the light returned, even more brilliantly than before. The attic hoped perhaps this could be a new season…a season of light?

Around noon a powerful earthquake shook the home’s foundation and then pulsed its way through the rooms below. These shock waves pushed back the heavy, dust-laden drapes and shattered the mud-stained windowpanes.

In came the light, streaming like a torrent of persuasion, enlarging and breathing life into the main floor rooms!

Why had this not happened earlier? But then again - why today?? There seemed no obvious answers, and yet the scarred and weary structure welcomed the light and its promise: hope. Perhaps this was somehow the perfect day for radical change to begin.

A few dark inner shadows jealously clung to their waning territories, unwilling to relinquish the darkness. Teeming termite-like creatures swarmed in dark corners as the incoming brilliance forced them to retreat. Perhaps the light would shift; perhaps it would grow stronger and eliminate the lingering shadows and their gluttonous hosts altogether.

Before the purging began, the home’s occupants consisted of unwelcome undesirables – ghosts of what had been, ghosts of what might be, and authoritative predators. It was empty, neglected, seemingly forgotten. But as the light crept through the rooms, visionary remodel plans took over. The home would become so much more than it had ever been before! It would soon be a new place altogether; it would support and nurture LIFE!

With an incredible display of power, the renewing light continued to pulse methodically through each room minute-by-minute for days, weeks, months…exposing closets and dark corners and chasing their unseemly contents away. Eventually every inch was cleansed. Prepared. Readied for the next step.

A home without a real, living tenant is not a home – it’s just a vacant dwelling. Now a “no vacancy sign” hangs on the front door. My heart has become a home for the Light of the World.


“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us…” Psalm 67:1-2a

“If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” John 14:23

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” Ephesians 3:16

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…” Revelation 3:20

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This article has been read 1154 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Steve Clark01/18/06
The Great Remodeler strikes again! I loved the way this story kept me firmly planted with one foot in the awareness of an actual house with timbers and windows and bugs, while my other foot had me in a place of keen awareness of the spiritual implications of destroying the obstacles to light, shaking the foundations and showing us new possibilities. If you've ever been through a house remodelling project, you'll know that certain things we've accepted as unchangeable become very different things by the end.
Only the Architect knows how to create such a plan where walls are moved, windows moved and added, and many new outlets installed. I loved this story!
Laurie Glass 01/19/06
Appreciate your descriptions in this honest, heartfelt piece. This piece is something so many people can relate to.
Pat Guy 01/20/06
Bravo Beth! If you are trying something new - then you've really done a good job of it! This is soooo good! Worth a second read! *clap, clap*
Maxx .01/20/06
Very nice. I liked the message. The descriptions were very strong and I could feel the story unfolding. Great job!
Shari Armstrong 01/20/06
Wonderful descriptions -well done!
Linda Watson Owen01/21/06
Poetry was dancing with your beautiful prose, Beth! The image of the renewed house into a home is such a familiar scene where I live. So many Victorian beauties are coming to life. The image is perfect, exactly what Christ does in our hearts!
Suzanne R01/22/06
Those old homes are so dark and dank, aren't they! Yet they can become a beautiful home with some work ... and you've brought this out beautifully - well done!