Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2020

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

Program or Major

English Teaching

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

James Rioux


"Unless the Lord Builds the House" is a work of creative nonfiction about two years of my life as my chronic Lyme disease altered how I had to live and how I thought about my life . There are three major threads that I explore.

The first theme is about losing my old self. There was an old Alicia and a new Alicia, and I explore my frustration at losing the old Alicia. I explore this by talking about building. I see myself as a house under renovation, and I write about my struggle to let go of my past self and everything that came with that to accept the new things being built.

The second theme follows me feeling like I'm not enough, and being angry at myself for that. My symptoms were very neurological, and I couldn't do much for a long time. Other people had to take care of me, and that made me upset because I felt like people wouldn't love me.

The third is what ties everything together, and that is my relationship with God. I love Jesus and see Him as the most important part of my life, so that influences this piece a lot because it alters the way I see the world. This theme focuses on being close to God. There is a story in the Bible in which Moses goes up on a mountain to meet with God, and when he comes down, his face is radiant--shiny--so I use images of gold and radiance to talk about being close to God.

This experience of illness changed and deepened my relationship with Jesus, and taught me more about how much He loves me and that I don't have to be perfect--I don't have to be "enough"--because He already is. I hope that no matter your beliefs, you find encouragement in this story.


Please contact me if you have questions about my writing or story at aliciamaimone@gmail.com.