THIS IS THE HOUSE THAT KARL BUILT
I met Karl 35 years ago. Hubby's youngest brother. Party animal and speed freak. Husband and soon to be father. Cordon Blue chef and top of his class in flower arranging. A man I found hard to understand and even harder to bond with. Then again, at that time I was not much more than a teenager and not tuned in at all to look deeper than skin deep.
Then, about 15 years ago, while my family was going through a very traumatic time, Karl came to visit and I immediately realised that this was no longer the party animal and speed freak he used to be. Here was a man I could understand and bond with. Suddenly I had a brother-in-law that felt like family. There was a depth to him that I could not find in any of my other siblings-in-law. This was no longer the rebel of 15 years earlier.
Now, my father believed that every man should at least once in his lifetime, build a house. It is an outdated idea in modern times, but in my father's time it meant that by building a house for his family, the man provides for his family. A house was not just a construction of bricks and mortar. It was a haven of safety to run to from the threats of a dangerous world. It was a warm hearth to return to when the icy winds of life threatened to freeze the very soul out of you. A place to go for nourishment when life itself threatened to starve the heart. It was a man's way of providing all that his family needed.
This morning I am sitting in the house that Karl built. The bricks and mortar construction, that is. A beautiful place set in a beautiful garden in beautiful surroundings. However, not the house, not the garden, nor the surrounding are as beautiful as the man that my party animal, speed freak, brother-in-law had become over the years... the wonderful husband, the wonderful father and the wonderful friend.
This afternoon we will say our final farewells to him at his funeral service. Am I sad? Of course I am sad that he will never again give me Clivia plants for my birthday, or challenge me to a day of walking, walking, walking, and more walking around the Albert and Victoria Waterfront, yet I also find a measure of joy in his passing, for what changed the party animal and speed freak of 35 year ago into the man I came to love, admire and respect over the past 15 years, was his close relationship with our Lord, and I know that this morning he is in the presence of the Source of Eternal Life... receiving his rewards for building that house for his family and friends to return to and shelter in.