An open door is the universal welcome

Our story so far: Our to-do list at the old Methodist church we were turning into a home was long with tasks related to installing trim and painting it. Chapter 35 continues …

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front doors flung open
If you look closely, you can see the enormous fan at the top of the steps inside the front doors.

Being that it was summer, and hot, humid days were many, and sawdust or paint fumes were always in the air, Tyler began most days by flinging open the double castle doors and leaving them open all day. An enormous industrial fan Tyler found on sale in the scratch-and-dent aisle of one of the big box stores we frequented was running constantly, spewing our dust into the street or cooling the men working inside.

The open doors had an ancillary benefit: They welcomed visitors. We had so many, in fact, our castle doors could have been revolving doors. I wouldn’t have guessed sawdust could have such an upside.

Our ongoing work at the church continued to bring interested former church members, neighbors and other curious observers to our door, and we rarely let anyone get away without a grand tour. It was so much more fun showing people around to see the work we had actually performed instead of simply waving our arms around, pointing to where we planned custom vanities, a spiral staircase, leaded glass windows and a grand balcony.

plant gift
A gift of plants for our yard.
hostas around flagpole
The hostas found a home around the flagpole and the relief stone left behind at the church.

Some visitors came bearing gifts. A woman who lived nearby—not a neighbor, exactly, and not a former church member, just a village resident who had heard what we were up to—dropped by to offer us some of the abundant perennials in her yard. Tyler was thrilled. She gave him directions to her home, and he excitedly told me about her offer later in the day. But we were concentrating on sanding floors at the time so we didn’t make it to her house right away. A couple of weeks later, she dropped by with a trunkload of divided hostas and something called 4’Clock Flowers she had harvested herself; all we had to do was plant them (which St. Johnny dutifully did on our backyard garden by the flagpole that was producing cucumbers and tomatoes like mad). I imagined my mother, an active member of her local garden club, might do something similar for a foreign sojourner, and I found the woman’s gift to be such a generous gesture of welcome. And hers wasn’t the only one. Other friends, old and new, offered intangible cheerleading about the house and tangible additions to it. Far-flung friends talked about making trips just to see us (and the house, let’s be honest). It was just the encouragement we needed after so many months of hard work.

four oclock flowers
Here is the 4-Clock Flowers plant gifted to us (and behind that, an overgrown patch of basil of my own making).
tomatoes
Our patio table, abundant with tools and tomatoes.

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Tomorrow: The sanctuary windows get a facelift. Read about it here.

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2 thoughts on “An open door is the universal welcome

  1. Just be prepared to thin out 4 o’clocks every couple of years. Here in the south, they spread rapidly and widely! Maybe northern winters deter that some. By the way, they release lovely fragrance and have vibrant colors!

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