Setting the Captive Free (Abandoned House)

    The house had been vacant for as long as anyone can remember.  A couple of the locals who had grown up in the neighborhood could vaguely remember the sweet couple that had once lived there.  In their time the lawn was immaculate.  Flowers bloomed every spring, and the house was in good condition.  In fact, even in a part of town where people really cared about the condition of their homes, this house stood out as exceptionally well kept.  The couple that had lived there had been born, raised, and worked in the community.  With the exception of a few years away at college and of course World War II, neither had ever lived anywhere else but in that community.  They had saved and using the GI bill bought the house.  Even though the home was small they had raised three children and never complained about the size of the house.  They always found a way to make the house feel more than adequate.

     Today though the house was in terrible condition.  The couple had passed away several years ago.  While the oldest child had inherited the house, he had no intention of ever moving back to the community of his youth.  He lived in the big city now and enjoyed the convenience and special attractions that big city life offered.  So, the house stood vacant.

    One day some folks who were experiencing homelessness and did not want to live by the rules of the local shelter decided that they would take up residence in the house.  There was no water or electricity in the house, so they set up rules about collecting water for toilet flushing.  One pioneering young man figured out how to use some jumper cables to get electricity to the house.  In the house the rules often changed based on who the strongest personality was but at least they were “free” After just a couple of weeks the smell in the house was becoming awful.  With no showers and sporadic toilet flushing and living in fear that they would be discovered, which kept all windows closed and blinds keeping our all light, odors had nowhere to go.  But at least they were “free”.  Each person donated their food stamps, and they took turns calling churches for support.  They worked day and night to scrounge up the necessities for life.  If the calls did not produce the food or clothing, they needed they were able to do some dumpster diving to provide those needs.  Some would watch mailboxes and steal social security checks and they enjoyed their “freedom.”

    Drugs and alcohol always seemed to be available.  They were free to engage in as much sin as they wanted.   Freedom though did not always provide safety.  Freedom did not always provide heat or air conditioning.  Freedom did not keep some from getting sick and even being hospitalized.  They had a rule that they had to go down the street to call an ambulance because nobody wanted to be caught.  That is freedom!

     During drug induced and drunken moments damage was done to the walls and plumbing.  What did it matter?  It was all free and they could do as they wanted.  Over time the home became less and less habitable.     When they completed doing their worst and the infighting got to a level of discomfort, they used their freedom to move into a home in your neighborhood.

    After the city takes possession of the house due to failure to pay taxes there is nothing left to do but tear down the house and clear out the boxes of food, discarded clothing and other items donated by local churches.   Those that had lived there have moved on to continue their life of freedom on your tab, ready to tear up someone else’s abandoned home.  That is ok because eventually it will be yours.