Each time I enter the side of the garage in our new home, I can’t help but notice the small heart carved into the concrete corner near the door – bearing the words “Carl & Sandy – 2002.” You see, the original owners of this house were in their early seventies when they made the decision to sell their lake house, and their weekday home, in order to build one place that would make it easier for them to maintain. After all, they were getting older and were concerned that the effort to take care of two households would eventually become too much for them and that is what precipitated the consolidation – resulting in their decision to build the home that I am writing from this evening.
They were married for thirty seven years before Sandy passed away from cancer several years ago. And Carl finally decided that it was time to move on which is why the house went on the market and we were able to purchase it. By all accounts, it was a real love story. Carl and Sandy were made for each other. He was an engineer and from everything that I have heard and seen firsthand, he overbuilt their dream home – no surprise there – for her! And Sandy had a real penchant for the way she wanted the house to look. Fine china, antique furniture, beautiful accessories and just a real gift for the putting the finishing touches on a remarkable home that she just loved.
The two of them were quite a pair. You know, they didn’t leave anything to chance. For example, did you ever think about how handy it would be to have an electrical outlet in some obscure place? Then, you look down, and voila! – there is an outlet. Or how about separate switches for all the outside outlets so you can control the Christmas lights, that Sandy loved, from inside – each set of lights around the perimeter independently. Or the covered portico on the side of the house so Sandy didn’t get wet when she went out to greet Carl as he returned home from work if it was raining or snowing?
And then there is the lower patio, where Carl and Sandy loved to sit and look at the water. After all, they had lived in a week-end home on a lake in northern Indiana for many years and were used to just walking out and enjoying the lake level view. In fact, the main kitchen in the house only saw service on Thanksgiving and Christmas – a total of 20 times in 10 years. Other meals were taken in the lower level that also became a place for them to sleep as Sandy became sick and the stairs became more of an inconvenience.
Every time Janet or I round a corner, it is clear that we are almost looking in on a wonderful love story between these two people who had devoted their lives to one another. And to celebrate their love, they built this place that they could share every aspect of building together. I really don’t think I would have the patience to go through what they went through to create a reality from their dreams. And clearly, Carl was dedicated to Sandy – to the end, and beyond.
We know that they were both God fearing Christians and they valued their walk with the Lord. In a way, that made it even easier for us to work with Carl to come to terms when it was clear that we would like to purchase the house. And the whole experience couldn’t have been better – I’m sure of it… The verse for this evening is from Matthew 19:4-5, “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?”
My encouragement this evening is that God has given most of us the gift of a spouse – and this is consistent with His will for our lives. My prayer is that you will search for common ground with your spouse and make sure that you love them well, just like the kind of relationship that Carl and Sandy had. Unfortunately, that’s becoming something of a rarity these days. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…