520 Green Street

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The For Sale sign went up on Friday, and when I saw the Open House sign on Sunday, I told Marti I was going to go over there and check it out. The house is next door, and for the last 47 years, it was the home of our good neighbor, Anne Wood, a retired school teacher who died a few months ago. Anne was a dear lady, loved in the community for her work for the homeless, and loved by us for her sharp wit and dry humor. This time of year she would be busy getting ready the big Thanksgiving dinner in the park for the homeless. She was always a big part of our Thanksgiving, as long as it was after everyone was fed in the park. She had to be there for that. Anne never married, and as far as we know there were no surviving relatives except for her Goddaughter who inherited the house, which made us think she was going to be moving in, but apparently she has other plans.

We were very familiar with the house, having taken care of things when she was away on her annual trip to the Russian River, and over the last few months, before she was moved to a nursing home, we were over there a lot, looking out after her as it became harder and harder for her to get around safely. A couple of times we had to call paramedics to come and help me get her up off the floor. Often, in the last few weeks, I would clear a spot on her cluttered kitchen table for my laptop and work there just to guard against another fall, and Marti would help her in and out of bed. She was feisty and self-sufficient and did not leave that place without a fight, probably because she knew she would never come back. She didn’t.

I was curious to see the place because in 47 years she had done absolutely nothing to it. It was just a tiny, one-bedroom cottage, built originally to be a little vacation bungalow. I figured that the seller would have done some extensive remodeling in order to dress it up for sale, and was surprised when I got inside to find nothing had been changed — not even the furniture. It was all Anne’s old beat-up furniture right down to the kitchen table. The only thing that was different is that it was clean and all picked up. All the clutter was gone.

This gave me an eerie feeling I wasn’t expecting. With all her furniture there and the house looking like it always did, it was as if I could feel her in the walls — like her soul was still in the place. You don’t live in one place for 47 years and not leave anything behind. The only thing that wasn’t right is that it was clean and uncluttered. Pristine. No mail piled on the kitchen table, no sheet over the couch to keep the dog hairs off, no dog hairs on the floor, no dishes in the sink, no bathrobe hanging on the wall, no cane leaning up against it. It was Anne without the mess.

I decided I didn’t like Anne without the mess. I missed her mess. It didn’t even smell right in there. Remodel the place, or bring Anne back, but don’t try to push this spruced-up version of her over on me. It’s not going to work.

This is exactly what is wrong so often with Christians. No one wants the spruced-up version of anybody, yet that is what you get more often than not. Unfortunately for lots of spruced-up people, God doesn’t want it either. God loves us with the mess. He loves the smell of the old place with us in it. He doesn’t want a spruced-up version of us, He just wants to get inside. He’ll clean up what needs to be cleaned up, but He’ll take the rest as is. That’s our body here on earth, and that’s as good as it gets. He not only loves that, He takes up residence inside that body. It’s His body, and cumulatively, it’s the body of Christ — all of us, the way we are, filled with Him. That’s 520 Green Street; the way it always was — the way it’s supposed to be.

 

We made it!
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It is with great Joy that we can announce to you we have met our special fund-raising goal of $15,000.

With your participation, we will be moving forward into the New Year with the ministry expanding to an unprecedented extent.

This is because of you — your gifts, time, prayer, and encouragement to this ministry.

 You are making possible an incredible expansion of the influence of the kingdom of God in our time. Music that Matters radio is not made possible by the Catch ministry, but by you. The Boots on the Ground will be marching forward because of you. Those people pulled back from the cliff of despair by the Catch counseling ministry aren’t pulled back by the counselor, but by the counselor – And you. Our daily message of inspiration, encouragement, and grace turned outward is because of you.

 Every new ministry that emerges in the next six months, every book published, every album released, every website launched, every soul saved will be because of YOU participating with God in His great enterprise. 

 The message of Grace Turned Outward to those who have been discouraged, disillusioned, and disenfranchised by the traditional church can find a home with the Catch because of YOU. Thank you!

 So, we thank you, and invite you to stick with us in the coming months because it’s going to be an amazing adventure!

On behalf of the Board of Directors, John & Marti

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5 Responses to 520 Green Street

  1. Mark says:

    Good & meaningful Catch – wondering if Anne was a follower of Christ?

  2. John A Fagliano says:

    This is a late response and a long one but I hope tomorrow you’ll take the time to read it. Sunday during church, you asked for thoughts about this and I’ve been thinking about what I would say. After a time away, I moved back in with my parents and stayed in the house with them until they each passed. First my Mom in 1995 and then on November 9th 1996 my Dad passed away leaving me alone in what had been their house. At first I would go in their room and clean out all meaningless stuff. (my parents were pack rats) and keep what was important or meaningful. But after doing all that it still felt like THEIR ROOM every time I went in even though I knew they would never return. I had the same feeling you described about Anne’s home. So ten days after my Dad died, (that would be this very day, November 19th 22 years ago… one of the reasons I felt compelled to share this) I went into the room and rearranged all the furniture. I put the bed in a different place with a different spread on it and even brought in some furniture from different rooms and moved things out. When I was done, it was a room that in no way resembled the one they had. It was a freeing experience. It was like I had let them go…freeing their ghosts as it were from that room.

    I guess the lesson here it that this world is not our home. We only have temporary motels we stay in till check out time. Even Anne’s home of 47 years was just as temporary. I should know. I lived in my parents home for most of 45 years till I sold it 3 years ago. I have so many memories of that place that I’ll always keep but I gave up the place with no regrets. It belongs to someone else right now.

    One more thing. In an ironic twist of fate, I sold the home on November 19th, 3 years ago today. Also, Sunday the 18th would have been my Mother’s 100th birthday.

    God bless you John and Marti and all involved with the Catch. I never miss reading it every day.

  3. Kay says:

    One of your better ones. Really enjoyed it.

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