When I started looking for a new home I sent a carefully constructed list to my realtor of “must haves” and “nonnegotiable” things. For example, I refused to do street parking or yard work.
One rainy April afternoon, we started the fun process of looking at places with the listings I combed through. What I thought would be the perfect places, fell short of what I really needed in a place that was going to be home. None of them felt right, and I couldn’t imagine my life there. Jim said to me after we saw all the places on my list, “I have a place that I want you to take a look at.” We started driving towards the place, and I thought “He didn’t follow instructions…”. Little did I know, I would eat those words in less than hour.
We approached the brick building with a marble plaque, like a birth announcement of the building. My hand caressed the plaque, looking back I was embracing its history. I walked up the wide staircase and down the wide hallway to the unit. He unlocked the door and I took four steps, looked through the big windows with the sun shining through the gray clouds of the April rain. I smiled and turned to him gleefully shouting, “This is it.” I was home.
This 105 year old historic schoolhouse was built in 1911, and carved into the marble plaque was the name of segregationist Georgia governor, Lester Maddox. The Home Park School remained the only segregated school in the Atlanta Public School, and school closed in 1971. The beauty of the schoolhouse pushed beyond its flawed history.
In July, I moved into my classroom and the air conditioner stopped working. When you live into a 105 year old building, these things happen. As I unpacked, I started seeing other little things that were “flaws” in the house like the closet door that is off track or the broken light covers. They went on a list of things that need to be fixed.
From the moment I bought the classroom, I had such trouble with my front door. The locks have been replaced three times. I had to learn how to take off a door knob from the inside after the door knob fell into the hallway while I was inside. Despite many calls to my stepdad and many trips to fix it or rescue me from the inside of the classroom, I was beginning to feel that he had grown tired of my calls about the door. Rather, I knew he had to be because I was tired of making them.
After the last time I got locked inside the house, my friend and I played with the door. Trying to fix the flaws. We decided the fix was replacing the door, because a new door would fix the flaws. It didn’t. The door isn’t the standard size of today’s doors; therefore, I had to call five companies before we found one that makes the size required for the door frame. A 115 year old building, has doors that aren’t standard. Thinking back, I shouldn’t be surprised because I am not standard. Although, I don’t have to do some magic tricks to get inside or outside the my classroom house.
You see, when the school was built in 1911 the strikes for the doors were circular. The door strikes of today…more squared. Insert famous saying, “Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.”
The door still needs a little nudge when you open it.
My friend and I examined the door, and realized that there were still flaws that were causing it to not work “perfectly”. I looked at the door the next day, and sighed because I suddenly didn’t care that door wasn’t going to be perfect. The door worked. Behind the flawed door kept a love that made people feel comfortable and warm when they walked in. Behind the flawed door kept the dreams and prayers of a homeowner that is stepping faithfully into her dreams. Behind the door all the prayers that have been prayed will be manifested for many years to come. Why you ask? Behind the door, the flaws at the door are lovingly welcomed because without those flaws…love and the beauty of the past, present, and future would never be appreciated. The owner who would’ve never been able to be educated in that school, is now the owner of the flaws at the door. I still caress my hand over the marble plaque sometimes when I walk up the staircase.
Like our “flaws” some things don’t need to be perfected. Those “flaws” need a nudge sometimes, to be tweaked a little, or left alone to be perfect for you and the special people that can appreciate them. They are the fabric of who we are. I love every “flaw” that I own just like I love my schoolhouse, classroom, and door.