The Overgrown Chimney Story

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A few weekends ago we had the chance to take some friends to Charleston for a fun adventure. After we all parted ways, my hubby and I had fun driving home seeing all the spring time loveliness along the road. The flowers were in full bloom and absolutely gorgeous.

One old homestead-looking home had a unique trait that catch my attention as we drove by. Or was it a flaw? Or possibly just a minor fleck in the big picture.

It was a cottage sized house: quaint and unique, but the odd flaw about it was the brick chimney; it was absolutely overflowing with sticks and woody debri as if little trees were growing out if it. Maybe the chimney wasn’t the main flaw in the little home; it was just the first thing to catch my eye.

When I looked beyond the chimney, I saw the home was obviously not doted over and cared for in some time, yet it didn’t lack character or potential. It could be a lovely house; It just needs some reviving.

A mile or two down the road I began to see a picture or analogy in my mind.

God usually brings a certain situation/ person to mind when I get a picture, but for confidential reasons, I usually only share the picture and not the story in reference to the picture.

Like I’ve said before, I think God uses a specific word more than once to minister to multiple people in different circumstances. That’s just how cool God is. 🙂

So whatever it’s worth to you…

A beautiful house. A potential cottage.

Let’s take a peak inside: (from my mind’s eye)

The main fireplace was handsome, sturdy, and toasted the house well with hot flames many times.

There was soot in the chimney though, and as the chimney was left unattended over the years, it soon overflowed with growing things and twigs and branches. This posed a problem because although the heat factor was still in tact, the house and those in it got smoked out.

The chimney was fine. The fire was too. But without a properly cared for chimney, the fire couldn’t benefit the occupants. It nearly suffocated them, made their eyes sting, and their lungs became parched for water. It was in general a very toxic situation.

The smoke also couldn’t make a proper smoke signal if it came pouring out windows.

As the problems posed by the chimney escalated, action was taken to avoid disaster  The fire was put out to avoid the possibility of the house being consumed by what was intended to keep it warm.

The house had to be saved. There was nothing to do but abandon the house.

Well, it seemed like the logical conclusion. Sometimes when the problem is overwhelming, a conclusion seems foggy, and second best seems to be the only escape. Maybe we don’t realize we are accepting second best because the true answer is out of sight to our eyes.

The house was left setting empty for a time. A long time some might say. But the important thing is that someone saw the answer.

This is what happened: Someone saw enough value in the fire, the fireplace, and the chimney in the house that they came back! Suddenly eyes were opened to see through the foundation and house design that only an expert builder could have planned the home.

Hope! There must be an answer. They cleaned out the chimney although it took some time. Little trees were uprooted and soot was blasted out.

Sometimes it seemed the mess was only getting bigger.

Light always comes after the darkest part of the night, yes?

Now there is a beautiful fire going where it can be a blessing and not harmful. The house doesn’t smell like smoke anymore. It smells fresh and clean, and the smoke effortlessly rises out the “new” chimney.

Sometimes old things are not useless just because they have not been cared for properly. Sometimes things are not too far gone to be restored. Sometimes when it seems too far gone, a miracle happens. There’s always time for a miracle.

There is more than mere escape. There is an answer and a miracle. That realization itself is part of the solution. It is the first step to a new life.

©Brenda Kanagy

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