The beauty of deterioration calls to me. It’s everywhere in the world’s architecture, but today Husband and I want to refresh our memories in our part of town. He presses the brakes, pulling the truck over in front of one of our favorites: the historic C.A. Smith Lumber Company on Lyndale Avenue North in Minneapolis. We climb out and stroll the grounds of “the castle building.” Years before it was a trend, Husband dreamed of living in an old warehouse. And he dreams of it still.
“Can you imagine having a bedroom up there?” He points at the turret of the Machine Specialties building with its arched windows.
“I could handle that.” And I think of writing in that circular room too, because nothing but elegance could emerge from a place like that.
We wander the connected property to the north, the Compo-Board Company, again. And I snap pictures this time too. In one spot, crumbling bricks jut out of the foundation like barnacles on a ship. Sheets of rusted, corrugated steel hang like curtains on part of the structure. And on all sides of the building, different colors, materials, and shapes harmonize. Here, like in humanity, diversity sings.
A pang of longing strikes me. The beauty I see in the disintegration, the dilapidation, the decomposition is fleeting. Why can’t it always be this way—even after this life? Eternity would be lovelier with this kind of decay, wouldn’t it?
Behold, I make all things new.
The faithful and true promise of heaven’s newness comforts me when injustice, racism, abuse, and hatred seem to be winning. Do away with mankind’s darkness, yes, but can’t the old architecture stay? The rough wood with its history? The rusted metals with their stories? The ancient bricks with their wisdom?
I only think these thoughts, though, because I’m still in my skin on this side of forever. And I know I can’t comprehend the beauty that’s coming.
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.
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*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.