The Miracle House

Despite a sleepless night, Wainwright House provides creative energy for the day.

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Posted in , Feb 27, 2015

Wainwright House in Rye, NY.

On Wednesday morning, the Guideposts editorial staff headed up to Rye, NY, for an overnight workshop at Wainwright House.

You may have heard some of the editors talk about Wainwright House before–the beautiful mansion on the Long Island Sound is a spiritual and learning center. It’s been the site of Guideposts workshops and retreats going back to the 1960’s.

We gathered in the house’s library for an all-day brainstorming session, followed by dinner and a few rounds of the board game Apples to Apples.

I was completely exhausted by the time I made it upstairs to the room I was sharing with my fellow editors Sonya Maizell and Allison Churchill. I closed my eyes, eager to get some zzz’s before another hard day’s work.

Only, I couldn’t fall asleep! I tossed and turned, tried counting sheep. I went over the workshop schedule in my head. I listened closely to this weird flushing sound coming from the bathroom, timing how long it took for the noise to stop and start up again (36 seconds, in case you were wondering!). But sleep never came.

I checked my phone. 1.11 a.m. Sonya and Allison were fast asleep. Maybe changing locations would help? I grabbed my pillow and tiptoed downstairs to the second floor of the house. I plopped down on the couch in the common area, praying for one measly hour of sleep.

Nothing happened. I checked my phone again, hoping I’d made it to 5 a.m. by some miracle. Nope. 2:19 a.m. I crept back upstairs, defeated. Why was I the only soul awake in all of Wainwright House? How was I gonna explain my dark circles and lack of enthusiasm in just a few hours? There was no way I could get through another full day.

I was not in a good mood when I made it downstairs for breakfast at 8:30 a.m. All in all, I’d gotten maybe an hour of sleep.

But something funny happened at breakfast. Instead of collapsing into my plate of eggs, I found myself entertaining the other editors with tales of my sleep-deprived night. In the library, as we critiqued stories, I was more engaged than I’d been the day before. I felt refreshed, energized even. What was going on?

Around noon, the team gathered for lunch and senior editor Jim Hinch led us in prayer.

“Thank you, Lord, for this house,” he said, “that has nurtured our magazine in creative ways for so many years.”

Editor-in-chief Edward Grinnan agreed, calling Wainwright a “miracle house.”

There was something different about this house. Even though I’d spent a sleepless night there, I felt incredibly rested somehow. Awakened in spirit, more connected to my colleagues and excited about the work I was doing. Filled with positive energy.

And I wasn’t alone. When I made it home from the workshop, I did a little research into Wainwright House. The house was completed in 1931 and belonged to Colonel J. Mayhew Wainwright.

According to the Wainwright House website, the Colonel’s daughter, Fonrose, actually became acquainted with Guideposts founder Dr. Norman Vincent Peale “through a series of apparent coincidences” in the 1940’s:

“It is said that Peale walked through the door of Wainwright House, stopped suddenly and remarked with awe that even though it was empty and unused, the house was filled with love.”

What about you? Have you ever felt miraculously connected to a house? Share your story below!

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