I don’t watch much t.v., but one show that does draw me in is Extreme Makeover; Home Edition on ABC. In case you aren’t familiar, this likeable crew of home renovators & designers selects a deserving family every week to grant a dream come true, a brand new home.
A family may be deserving in a number of ways but most often they are recognized by their community as selfless people who give much to their family and neighbors and ask little - if anything- in return. They may have suffered devastating losses from natural disasters or accidents. In some cases it might be a single mom who is caring for a special needs child and is barely making ends meet. It’s about individuals who make a positive difference in this world by giving and helping others and then, for a variety of reasons find themselves in need of a functional living space.
Enter Ty Pennington and crew from Extreme Makeover; Home Edition. In one week, with help from hundreds of local volunteers, the current home is demolished and a new one, complete with all the furniture and trimmings, inside and out, is built in it’s place. In one week. The week not only honors the deserving family, but it brings a whole community together in goodwill, not so unlike the spirit inherent in a good ole barn raising found in Amish communities.
All episodes are moving, but one scene is etched in my mind, as lovely and rich as the stained glass windows at St. George Orthodox Cathedral.
The crew was working on a home in Kansas, owned by the Tutwiler family, which had been destroyed in a tornado. Prior to this, Army Spc. Patrick Tutwiler had been injured in Iraq (read the full story here) and his wife was battling cancer.
As the crew toured around Chapman, KS, to see the extent of the damage from the tornado, compassion moved the network to donate more to this community than just one new home. During one segment, I watched an elderly woman kneeling over the dirt in front of her once charming home. Her voice was weak and her eyes, kind. This gentle soul had been making the trip from her apartment to the devastation of her former home in order to tend the roses there. They had survived the storm and she would not abandon them.
What selflessness...what a rare and precious beauty seeing those frail hands nurturing life. I hope this mental image will serve to remind me to look for beauty in all places and persons, especially devastated souls.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God., -from St. Matthew 5
In the end, “Extreme Makeover” completed many projects for the community of Chapman, such as bringing joy to this elderly woman by transplanting her rose garden to her new apartment.