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By Luke Hawley

Almost a year ago, I wrote my first blog for The Twelve. It was about the craziness I feel at the end of a semester and how I like to find therapy in projects, not couches. (Like makes it sound as if it’s on purpose, as if there’s intent—I’m not sure that’s true.)

At the time, I had just purchased a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle that came with two engines, an extra back seat, and an extra door. I had done some tinkering with cars, but I didn’t really know how an engine worked and wanted to learn and my colleague—who’s owned 26 VWs in his time—told me it was the easiest engine in the world, just gas and air and spark.

It took all summer and probably too much time (and possibly too much money), but I drove it work this fall until the snow hit. That same colleague calls it The Wonder Bug because it’s a wonder that it runs. But it does—though the blinker blows a fuse and there’s something banging around in the transmission.

I bring this up because it’s finals week and we’re about to close on a new (read: old) house. It’s a block and half away from our current house, which must mean it’s an upgrade, right? Or at least that’s been the question I’ve fielded most about it: “What do you like about this new one?” And I list off the old woodwork and the pocket doors and the not-living-on-a-corner with an 18-month-old. And the barn in the back yard.

I don’t mention the water damage or the broken stair or the wallpaper (on the ceilings!) or the knob-and-tube wiring. Or the fact that the barn has a real good lean to it.

Of course, what’s under that “What do you like about this new one” question is: “Didn’t you just do the same thing four years ago to the house you’re leaving behind?” followed quickly by, “Why on earth would you do this?”

Maybe it’s lunacy. Maybe therapy. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment.

But—as I mentioned in that first blog—I like to think of it as my ministry of reconciliation, me, trying to keep up my end of Behold, I am making all things new—with that wonderful, still in progress verb making.

And in that way, maybe it’s an act of love, to try a little tenderness and care for something that has a real od lean to it.

In this season of Eastertide, I’m hopeful that’s how God sees us and grateful that the answer to “Why on earth would you do this?” is right there in the lectionary reading for this Sunday:

I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

Luke Hawley

Luke Hawley teaches English at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. His collection of short stories, The Northwoods Hymnal, won a Nebraska Book Award. He sings and writes songs for The Ruralists. Check him out at or

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