My house is going on the market again soon. It didn't sell last year.
My real-estate agent has pressured me to hire a "home stager," someone who comes in and who makes the house look like what the generic buyer wants; or who clears space so the potential buyer can imagine themselves in the house, rather than the house being YOUR house that they walk into. She basically insisted that I do this, and she knows this market like the back of her hand, having worked here for 30 years or so.
The concept makes sense. What bothers me of course is that they are going to want me to take down all religious imagery.
I have talked to my priest about it, he said it was okay, not a sin nor an imperfection. But there is a difference between "okay" and virtuous. Would it be BETTER to leave the religious items up? Or would it only be scrupulous?
I have no problem leaving religious things up even when it costs me money. I'm not kidding, last time, a woman panicked when she saw my room and thought she was in The Exorcist. But with more time and reflection, I'm wondering if that was a scruple. Since I had cleaned out the room and taken out the bed, it looked very weird, just this empty, showcase-like room with a big bloody crucifix by the window. It didn't even show Jesus in a good light. It looked like some depressing Protestant chapel.
What I don't like about this whole thing with staging, I have now realized, is that it's like participating in the irreligious aspect of society. In order to accomplish anything, Jesus has to be swept under the rug. People don't want anything to disturb their Zen peace of mind and their Feng-Shui. I don't like being part of that.
But I must admit, it doesn't make sense to clean out the house, to take out all your personal effects, and then just leave Jesus up! It just looks weird. Obviously if the house were decorated the way I wanted, I'd not only have Jesus up but all my other personal effects, and it would all work together. But I have basically emptied the house of clutter and have put it all in the garage or closet.
And in a house that has been staged, leaving a Virgin Mary statue up will look even weirder -- like Virgin Mary in the middle of Pottery Barn.
The thing is, this was never my house, it was my mom's house. I never had my decorations up, it was never arranged according to my liking. I couldn't go into the living room and put up religious imagery because I had to take her wishes into account. And just months after my mom died, it was on the market. So it has never really been a house that has been designed in the Catholic style that my next house, the one I buy, will be designed. It's not like I had to go around dismantling everything that is Catholic in the place. I just have a few things.
I felt fine about staging the house, but then two people awakened my scruples. So I want more opinions, if possible. Remember, I want to do THE MOST VIRTUOUS thing, it's not just about not sinning... I already know it's not sinning. So either there is a more virtuous action to take here, or, as I suspect, it's merely neutral, neither way is virtuous and it doesn't matter as far as the faith is concerned.
Even though my priest said I could do it, he kind of raised a question mark when he said "If it doesn't sell after staging it, put the religious imagery back up," lol.