I had the privilege of working on a project to honor a deeply caring soul who was moving into a new space in her life. The journey of how to recognize her profound gifts to me personally and to a larger audience was a holy one that brought me to the supremely talented Andrew Leager.
Andrew is the former owner of Boylan Street Brewpub and has been on a journey of his own for the better part of two decades. He has always had a dream of restoring a church and he found "the one" in Haw River, NC where he is carefully and lovingly restoring a 125-year-old chapel along Main Street.
The chapel is beautiful in its simplicity from the outside with expansive arched windows flanking the front door and dutifully lining both sides of what was once the sanctuary. But the simplicity of the exterior is balanced by a jaw-dropping level of detail on the interior that can't help but make a preservationist out of the most modern man. From ceilings covered in long-forgotten tin that feel twenty feet high to wide plank hardwood floors that must hold stories of joy and sorrow in their perfect imperfections.
This is a work space now. Wood saws and paint brushes abound but if you close your eyes and rest in the stillness, you can visualize how this space will take shape. How the spirituality has just been at rest but is now slowly waking at the hands of a careful craftsman.
Andrew deeply respects the history in these walls as he works to create his studio space in partnership with his home in the rear of the church where his passion for cooking and music dance together.
The purpose of our visit was to view the gift Andrew was creating for us in its final stages. This gift, a vessel to cradle and hold letters, memories, treasures for a soul who has cradled many throughout her career or ministry. When asked what his vision for this vessel was, he replied faithfully that he would "ask the wood what it wants to be and the wood will speak". What a profound lesson in holding space with all things and allowing them to reveal themselves to us rather than muscling our way through the world.
Today and every day I hope I can rest in that lesson and I hope you can as well. Thank you Andrew.
I want to express my gratitude to these dear friends for being my travel companions, teachers and friends on this journey.
(Pictured from left to right: Libby Ward, Tricia Arnett, Andrew Leager and myself. Behind the camera this time: David Burgess).