If These Walls Could Speak

“A wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” Proverbs 14:1

Rob and I recently visited the one of the oldest plantation homes in the South open to the public. The uniqueness of this home was that we toured an empty house. All that we looked at were bare walls that last saw a paint brush over one hundred fifty years ago. The plaster ceilings were still intact on the main level and were beautiful to look at. Although the mansion was over 10,000 square feet, the rooms somehow seemed smaller to me. I might sound like I did not enjoy it; the opposite is actually true. Without period furniture, my imagination could run wild as our tour guide gave us some personal details about the seven generations that had lived in the home over the last three hundred years. What would the walls say if they could speak?

As Rob and I walked the immense property, we wondered out loud what the family’s concerns and joys were. I am sure that they had concerns similar to our own. What made them happy might have been different due to the span of years between their lives and ours, but there are desires common to all of us--the welfare of our children, peaceful relationships with friends and families, the blessing of God on our lives, and the knowledge that we are precious to Him.

Wisdom is a quality that is of particular interest to me because my life has shown me how unfathomable God and His ways are. In the wake of the tragedy our family has recently experienced, I realize how far I need to go to reach my desire to be a wise woman. I especially want to be wise in raising my children in a world that despises godly wisdom.

As I was walking through each of the rooms, the Lord seemed to be whispering to me something I so easily forget. The four walls I live in are not my home. It is so easy to confuse my value as a woman with the four walls I live in. By wisdom a house is built and through understanding its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. As I so vividly discovered as I walked through the bare house, it was the personal stories I was hearing that made those old walls come alive. Without the tour guide, I would not have known that the owner lost his entire family--his wife and two young sons--just months before his move-in date. I could imagine his anguish, the emptiness he felt as he walked across the threshold into his mansion with no one to share his happiness. How bitter that day must have been for him.

We also learned of stories of African Americans who were enslaved on that plantation. They gave the best of their strength to something that they never enjoyed themselves. Under the yoke of oppression, the grandeur of the house escaped them. They never rode up the long driveway guarded by majestic oak trees draped in Spanish moss to be wined and dined in the mansion. Their weary backs and feet never stepped to the sound of the joyous music in the ballroom upstairs where ladies and gentlemen danced the hours away.

Without these stories, we would have just been looking at brick and mortar, wood, and old fireplaces. A home is not merely its four walls, but the interaction that takes place within those four walls. The memories that make the walls ring with laughter, weep with grief, and contain days long gone by are what makes a home. A wise woman understands the true definition of a house and does not willingly use her hands to tear it down.

If These Walls Could Speak
(Jimmy Webb)

If these old walls,
If these old walls could speak
Of things that they remember well,
Stories and faces dearly held.
The couple in love living week to week,
Rooms full of laughter
If these walls could speak.

If these old halls,
If hallowed halls could talk,
These would have a tale to tell
Of sun going down and dinner bell.
And children playing at hide and seek
From floor to rafter,
If these walls could speak.

They would tell you that I’m sorry
For being cold, and blind, and weak.
They would tell you that it’s only
that I have a stubborn streak.
If these walls could speak

If these old-fashioned windowpanes were eyes,
I guess they would have seen it all.
Each little tear and sigh and footfall
And every dream that we came
to seek or follow after
If these walls could speak

They would tell you that I owe you
More than I could ever pay
They would tell you that I owe you
More than I could ever pay.
Here’s someone who really loves you,
Don’t ever go away
That’s what these walls would say
That’s what these walls would say
That’s what these walls would say.

copyright White Oak Songs

Jesus, come build this house so that these walls, if they had a voice, could say that a wise woman lived inside them.