My Dad, Making Dark Things Beautiful

October 12, 2020

My entire life my dad has purchased, renovated, and flipped houses. He has consistently purchased rundown, unmaintained, broken, dirty, and dark houses. As kids we’d gasp in horror looking at the chosen pieces of real estate selected by my father. Never understanding his vision or his insane desire to transform these less than mediocre houses. Houses others would abandon and run from, he was drawn to. Seeing purpose and vision where no one else could. 

With each house, and months and months of effort and hardwork, he’d create something brilliant. He’d take dark places and make them beautiful. He’d take pure brokenness and make it whole again, in new and special ways. For him, brokenness was simply an opportunity to rebuild, an opportunity to uniquely craft something better than before. With every house and transformation, we’d walk into the modified structure in awe and disbelief. We always seemed to underestimate his grit and mission. 

There is so much purpose in what he does. There are so many hidden lessons in the walls and foundations he’s repurposed. Hidden stories in his efforts and hard work. Life lessons among his hobbies. 

He has a unique way of ripping away the damaged pieces and leaving only the solid and mighty bones. The pieces that are built fierce, the ones worthy of remaining. Tearing away everything that no longer houses purpose or stability. Shedding each place of the broken rubble, sifting through the scattered pieces, delicately choosing what stays and what goes. 

Eventually left with only the strong and chosen elements, he carefully crafts a redemption. He sheds the debri and ruin. He carefully gathers the broken, and then he rebuilds. Rebuilding something new, while still holding pieces of the past, and crafting new spaces for all that is to come. 

He takes broken things and makes them whole again.

He takes destroyed things and makes them beautiful.

He takes places full of darkness and creates space for the light to shine and illuminate the transformations and becoming. 

It’s not just the houses I’m talking about. It’s people too. After my mother passed, I saw the way his hobby was actually how he handled his relationships too. 

He’d take the brokenness of grief and find ways to help us feel whole again, in transforming and unique ways. He’d take the ache of grief and wrap it in humor and laughter, reminding us of life’s joy. He’d take the darkness, and fill it with light, comforting the ache and the pain. He created space for the light to shine and illuminate the journey of loss. Reminding us that while the journey is paved with love, and created by heartbreak, it’s worthy of radiant light and the vision of hope. 

He takes broken things and makes them whole again, with love and sweat and all the great things only father’s can provide. 

And it’s beautiful and priceless.    

xox, Chels

My dad. xox
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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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