Wild Landscapes Wanted


By Patricia Alderman | Twitter: @patricialderman

A small suburb of my hometown contains several homes designed by architect Frank
Lloyd Wright. They were built in the 1940s when the area was completely rural;
getting there meant you had to drive out to the country. Now the city has sprawled to
the point where there’s no gap between the two. Still, it’s easy to drive past these
houses because they were specifically built to be a distinct part of the environment.
Wright once said, “No house should ever be on a hill or on anything. It should be of
the hill. Belonging to it. Hill and house should live together each the happier for the

Wright preferred to include the natural landscape as part of the building process. It
was his way of honoring the integration of structure and environment. While his
contemporaries ascribed to the concept of “form follows function” Wright maintained
“form and function are one.” There’s not a plot separate and distinct from a house.
There’s home.

It reminds me of how I attempt to compartmentalize my relationship with God. Like
when I get a phone call that a visitor is five minutes away and I frantically clean up
my real house in favor of the one that appears tidy and ordered. I just hope no one
opens the hall closet because they’ll be caught in an avalanche of shoes, books,
clothes and the occasional coffee cup.

I try on my own to clear out the bad habits and spruce up my attitude—to create a
place where God might feel like living. You know, work on the staging and the curb
appeal. Instead of remembering that nothing changes the fact that we belong to God.

Even in the midst of our mess God delights that we are his own.

“It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people.” Psalm 100:3

Too often I’ve tried to be my own architect. Left to my own devices, my blueprints
are filled with hallways leading nowhere and structures that are unsafe for me to

When I’m tempted to focus on the façade of life—car, job, education—God takes me
deeper, to the dark corners I’d rather ignore. The damp rooms where shame breeds
like black mold and dank air threatens to suffocate. Because he claims me as His own,
he remains in that space with me, never making me face it alone. It’s there that he
speaks truth to my pain and banishes the darkness.

We don’t cease belonging to Him because of the messes in our life. As we walk with
Christ, our mess—our character—is molded to more closely reflect the landscape of
the Spirit.

We are co-workers in God’s service.
We are God’s field.
We are God’s building.

I have much work to do but I don’t do it alone. No matter how uncertain I feel, he
prepares the way, he sets the path. He calls me worthy of his work on earth.
Frank Lloyd Wright claimed his practice of organic architecture came to life when all
the parts were related to the whole and the whole related to all the parts.
“I believe in God, only I spell it Nature,” he said.

That sense of belonging to the Creator is what orients us to our time and place in the
world. Carving out our spaces, setting up house, caring for our neighbors, living out
God’s love for others. Until we finally make it home.


About Patricia:

Patricia celebrates the absurdity of grace. She is an introvert who craves community, a Michigander who hates being cold, and a hopelessly loud car singer who can’t carry a tune to save her life. Patricia explores loss and grief—as it relates to infertility, miscarriage, and childlessness—and what it’s like to navigate those experiences in a world that often wants us to just get over it already. Patricia also solves many of the world’s problems while relaxing with a skein of yarn and a crochet hook. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and patriciaalderman.com.