July 6, 2022 - Home

" Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain." (Ps. 127:1 NIV)

Deb and I took a few days off to meet some friends from Pennsylvania at a midway point so neither one of us would have to drive the 13 hours to see each other. For the sake of anonymity, let's just call them "Sam" and "Jill." Reminds me of those old elementary readers we grew up with in school. "See Sam run." "See Jill run after Sam." I think it was Dick and Jane but that's another story.

We met in the vacation destination of Ohio; Akron to be exact. Why? Because it was about halfway for each and there was something of interest there: The Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens.

"Stan Hywet" is an Old English name for "stone quarry" of which the site was located. It was the home of the Seiberling family since 1915. A small 64,500 square foot cottage with a lagoon, 70-acre lawnscape, vegetable and flower gardens. It has 21,455 panes of glass and 23 fireplaces.

I've been to the Biltmore in North Carolina. This is small in comparison. But I left the mansion thinking, "It felt like a home."

It's been a few weeks since I've been home but in conversation with others about my experience, I think I know why I felt that way. It was because the house was full of photographs. Christmas parties. Easter egg hunts. Community events. Weddings. New Year's Eve parties. Rooms where Will Rogers stayed. Bedrooms where Helen Keller and Shirley Temple slept. Guest rooms for royalty as well as musicians and poets and playwrights. Plaques telling stories about cigars and Brandy and Billiards (which I learned was quite different than Pool). Messy working desks and kitchen menus for the day. It felt lived in and I can't think of a better way to use an Old English Tudor cottage.

It's not about the building, but the people you shared it with. Like "Sam" and "Jill" or was it, "Dick" and "Jane"?

May our mansions be the same.