WORDS & IMAGES | BROOKLYN WAGNER
LETTERING | SAM PALENCIA
What happens to you when you enter an open space for the first time? Imagine yourself there, in the middle of a big open room, a blank slate of sorts. What emotions do you feel? I know, you’re like, “Sheesh, give me context, Brooklyn.”
Well, say that open space was yours. Would you sit in the middle of the room and enjoy the openness, or would you immediately want to fill it up? Would you save it for your quiet place, or would you mass-text on the spot to invite all your friends into it? What if it were cluttered, worn down, broken a little. Would you try to fix it?
Having four walls and a roof suddenly makes something important. Three walls? Still outside. No roof? We’re in an unsolvable maze. One wall? Mural that ‘ish. But the existence of four complete walls, being sealed, being safe - that is special. Humanity wants shelter. We want to know that there is a visible, real space in which we belong. Or where we can grow a home.
Even if that place for you is in your van traveling across the country, in an airplane hurdling in a jet stream way above everyone else’s heads, a yurt, a treehouse, a garage, an apartment on the 12th floor, a cabin on that favorite lake. We know of that place, or we are looking for it.
As a human that loves to talk, I want a space where I can speak and laugh and listen with someone else. As a woman that loves to have the most comfy bed of all the beds on earth, I want a place to lay my tired, little head. As a visual anthropologist and someone often saying “don’t look at me, I’m taking your picture,” I want a spot that allows me to create new things without bounds.
However, there is a piece missing from that puzzle.
I’ve been imagining myself as a room, or least starting out as one in the beginning of my life. Maybe it’s because of a little Death Cab buried deep within me, or maybe its because I am so visually extroverted that even the rooms in which I stand become friends to me -anthropomorphized a little. The piece missing is the part about me being a human in union with the One Creator. The One who made space, the only One who can fill his space with good. Our good, good Father.
This feels like a natural question to ask next: If I am a room, who lives in me?
I often use the word “vessel-hood” (which I might’ve made up) to describe my identity as a room. A vessel is meant to carry, right? I want to own my identity as a vessel for the living water, for new wine. I like to imagine Jesus entering me, an old, underutilized room and saying “This place is mine.” He mends, he sweeps, he opens the blinds. He chucks out the broken pieces I was foolishly saving; he fights hard to chase out the little bugs that have worked their way in. He puts a new lock on the door. He stretches out on the floor and sings a song, because he is happy to be there.
This, when I enter home, I remember that I am a home, too. Because it works a little differently with people, doesn’t it? What makes a house a home? Others.
Jesus doesn’t make his home in empty buildings; he chose the heart of man. This is where Jesus, the most creative, can make. This is his ZONE, you guys. He can make world-shattering beauty flow out of you as he lives in you.
Imagine yourself as a house; let Him live freely in it, working all hours of the night and day to produce wonderful things in you so that you can show others the great work of this master craftsman. Live as a house belonging to the Holy Tenant? This is the creative life I want. This is what will heal the church from the inside out, my friends. This is what will break every bound on your community; this is what will nourish the spirit of all humans that every see Him at work in you.
We all want ‘home’, so be the home that you already are and put out your welcome mat. Jesus likes visitors.