In Praise of Stained Carpet

As our building nears 20 years old, we find ourselves doing a lot of building-keeping items the last few years.  Replacing carpet is one of those things.  Admittedly, it is something that no one wants to do, but everyone agrees it is time to do.  And so, little-by-little, we have been replacing the carpet.

Remember when the building was brand new?  Many of you probably don’t (including me).  On May 11, 1997, 4545 N. Meridian became the address for Northsiders to gather to learn, to grow, to worship, and to fellowship together.  I’m sure the walls were freshly painted, the landscaping barely existent, and the carpet smelled new.

In 20 years, we have used this place well.  We have had 2,090 worships, countless weddings, funerals, conferences, camps, banquets, meals, and classes.  We have expanded the auditorium, the classrooms and the parking lot.  We have replaced the roof.  We’ve added four  people on staff, filled it with close to 1,000 women, hundreds and hundreds of teenagers, youth interns, missionaries from across the globe, folks with hurts, habits and hang-ups, and half a generation of babies and children. We renovated the kids wing when we began Safari to the Son.  The chairs have been moved, stacked and unstacked thousands of times. And most of the walls have been painted, re-painted and painted again.

As we replace it, I must admit that I am kind of proud of our old stained carpet.  Sure, she’s worn, stained and pretty old.  And some may have thought it was starting to become unsightly.  But, I saw it differently—as a badge of honor of sorts.  Well-worn carpet is an indicator of well serving family.  She has carried the feet of our family as we sang, and studied, and learned, and prayed, and ate, and served, and brought guests, and hugged, and honored, and cried together.  If the carpet could talk, I think she’d have quite a story to tell about a family that has grown closer to Christ and to each other over the years.  Each stain and rip part of a larger part of God’s people in God’s story.

The house is never as important as the people who occupy it.  But, as the new carpet goes in, it makes me thankful for a family that has used it so well and excited about all the new stories yet untold.