The House by Phil Hazelden

OCTOBER 13, 2019

The House SQ.jpg

The House

The day I let Jesus into my house it literally lit up.

When I say ‘literally’, I do mean that because it did. It got lighter.

It smelt different as well, kind of natural, like herbs crushed in warm oil, imagine rosemary and thyme, then cedar with a hint of frankincense.

It felt good, wholesome, new.

So, I know you are thinking this, “Let Jesus into your house?” “How?”

This is what happened, for your benefit I will explain.

My house is a two up, two down with a kitchen, I am a private person and like things just so. My favourite room is the one where I have all the things that I like in it. The other one is my kitchen, this is where I meet people and welcome them in to my home. I eat there. I have another room which I don’t often use, I keep various bits and pieces in there, you know things I keep but don’t use, the messy room or junk room I call it. It keeps the other rooms tidy though to have somewhere where you can put the rubbish. I don’t tend to let guests or visitors in there.

Upstairs is my bedroom, this is where I sleep, not very well most nights, the ‘dream room’, sometimes ‘nightmare room’. I lay in bed and think about things sometimes good, sometimes bad. Generally this is a good room though, the room where I rest.

The other bedroom is where I store all the things I have collected over the years. There are toys from my childhood, photographs of holidays I have been on, things that remind me of people I loved now gone, I call it my memory room. Sometimes when I go in there it has a happy feel and then I have been in there before when I have felt very sad. Out of all the rooms it is the one I most want to tidy up. But it goes like this. I decide I am going to tidy up my memory room and so I set a time and a date. The date comes around and I brace myself and go with the intention of tidying it. So I start. Then, and this is the problem, I find something, an object, say for instance, a photo album from many years ago and I open it. An hour later I am so distracted from my original task that I lose interest altogether in my original task, I literally get nowhere every time; it is so frustrating and annoying. I am not sure if I will ever get that room sorted. Sometimes I close that door for weeks and just ignore it.

So that is my house, oh, and I have a garden as well, but I’m not a great gardener. It is a bit weedy.

How did I ask Jesus into my house? Well this is the way it happened.

One night everything was the same as usual, I was in my favourite room doing ‘normal’ stuff and there was a knock on the door, not loud just a knock. I looked at my watch and thought ‘unusual’.

I opened the door and there stood Jesus. He said “Hello” and used my name. Now I had never really met Him before but I honestly can tell you it did not seem strange that He knew my name. In fact you could argue ‘how did I know it was Jesus’, because He didn’t introduce himself. I knew and He knew. It was mutual.

He said “Can I come in, eat with you?”.

I must say I did hesitate at that, I thought various things in rapid succession like  ‘it is too late’ or ‘I’d like to tidy up first’, He just stood there smiling, I was sure He could read my thoughts. I thought ‘I must be careful what I think’.

But I said ‘yes’, ‘YES, I would like you to come in’, and the moment I said it I knew that that was what I wanted, I KNEW.

His kindness filled the hallway, I’d forgotten what I was doing and I actually felt like crying, sobbing. I nearly did and I didn’t know why.

You see I don’t cry, but I nearly did then.

How would I describe Jesus. He was kind and wherever He was in my house it felt peaceful.

We went in the kitchen and He ate with me. To be honest I didn’t have a lot in the house but I did have some bread and fish and I think I remembered that Jesus used to drink wine so I got the bread and mackerel and broke open a bottle of wine.

I am used to eating on my own or at least have my own plate of food and if I have a guest they have their own plate of food but Jesus was different He broke His bread in half and gave one half to me. Then he picked up his wine glass and offered some to me, I refused of course, I had my own glass but He insisted and said “I want you to share what is mine”. So I did. And so this was the way it was to be at every meal from now on, we didn’t have separate plates we just shared. It was difficult for me at first being such a private person but now it just feels normal.

The other thing is that He didn’t leave. But I liked having Him around so it didn’t matter.

One day, soon after, we were sitting down eating and laughing. Oh, that is the other thing He laughed a lot. I could always hear him laughing, he’d laugh at nothing at all. Anyway, He said “Let’s tidy that room together”, I said “What room?”, He said “The memory room”, I said “Ok”. And so it was decided.

The first thing He did when we got in there was draw the curtains and the sunlight streamed in. There was a lot of dust. He then opened the windows. For days we went through that room sorting things, he was interested in everything the good and the bad, we laughed a lot, sometimes in stitches, over a memory long forgotten of happier times Then He showed me something hidden beneath a pile of stuff, it was a small box with some things from my childhood when I was five, a memory from long ago, ‘Oh, I said I didn’t even know this was here still’. A cloud seemed to block the light through the window, I took the box with trembling hands and looked away, embarrassed. When I diverted my eyes to His I saw that He was crying, I sobbed into His chest for what must have been an hour or more. Then He dusted it off, put it on a shelf and He kissed the box.

And that’s how it was. The days went by, sometimes we spent just twenty minutes in there and sometimes it seemed like we were in that room for hours.

Thinking about it now, I never really liked that room before, any happy thoughts were always clouded by something slightly darker, it didn’t help that I had kept the curtains drawn. You know, the small things count.

I love that room now, we didn’t throw anything out but it is a peaceful place. Jesus is often in there and it helps to know that because he helped me tidy it, everything in that room He has now touched.

It was round about this time that He cleaned out the downstairs junk room. This time we did chuck stuff out. Things I had collected I didn’t need or hid away. Everywhere He went He tidied, but it felt good because I was tired with the way it was, I had lived like this for so long, my life ordered but nothing really changing.

 I had an under stairs cupboard that I had never let anyone open except me. I worried about this because to be honest I was ashamed, there was a lot of dust and I put stuff in there that I would never have even put in the junk room.

During the period when we were sorting out the memory room, one day I stopped and without even really thinking I asked if He would follow me, I wanted to show Him something and I just took Him straight to the under stairs cupboard and I said “I’m sorry, I wish I had asked you to help with this a long time ago, I want you to have every room including this one”. He looked at me and smiled, his kindness was sometimes overwhelming and He replied “Thank you but there is no need, I sorted this one out a long time ago, it is clean”

Well I opened the door, thinking ‘that can’t be so’, I was surprised to say the least, not only was it clean but it was really clean.

So you see everything changed. He is even teaching me how to garden, to sow seeds and grow things.

Sometimes I look back and try to imagine the house without Him. I remember thinking that I was happy alone but I wasn’t, not really.

It feels like this house is no longer mine but His and you would think that that might pose a problem, but it doesn’t, if you asked me I would say that I willingly give Him this house to occupy it, fill it with His kindness, His aroma, His light.