I woke up this morning, after eight hours of sleep, feeling like I’d just finished a full day of hard physical labor. My energy level picked up, but not much. I managed to get a load of dishes washed, help my little girls straighten their rooms, sort and file six months worth of paperwork, and turn dozens of frozen bread ends into bread crumbs. The last was an effort to make room in my freezer while we were trying to determine if our full-sized freezer had died. Turns out it had just been left open, and we didn’t lose any of the contents. Praise God for mundane victories, right?
I paused between projects to get a bit of fresh air. I moved to our huge screened-in porch, which is one of the focal points of our new home. New, still, in my mind, sixteen months after moving in. I’m sitting in a wicker chair I inherited when my grandma moved from her large home in the woods of western Massachusetts, to a tiny apartment here in upstate New York. Outside, I can see the bright blue sky, visible through the greenery of a tall, sprawling tree next to the driveway. The wind whips through the branches, and also makes the loose sheets of plastic that covered the porch screens for the winter flap around wildly, with a sound that is actually quite lovely and peaceful.
Gazing across our driveway to the side yard, I glimpse a sea of green grass with an abundance of yellow dandelions. I never can understand why people spray chemicals to kill those lovely flowers. Our “neighbors,” row after row of headstones, decorated with flags and flowers, receive many visitors today.
Looking down the expanse of the porch, I see towels and bathing suits, hanging on hooks and draped over benches; evidence of a pre-lunch swim in the creek. A path of small mismatched rugs extends from where I am to the door, covering the tile that isn’t really meant for outdoor conditions, and gets dangerously slippery when wet. The stacked up bins of shoes and boots sit near the door. A crate we found in the barn attic, filled with century-old encyclopedias, acts as a table for the spigot-ed jar of bubbles and basket of sidewalk chalk.
The house paint is chipped, the ceiling fans are ugly, and the metal nameplate by the door bears the previous owners’ names. (Why in the world haven’t we taken that down yet?) The pieces of wicker furniture would look so much cuter if they were painted to match and had new cushions. But despite these flaws – and perhaps even because of them, because I know there will never be an end to maintaining and improving this home – I am filled with thankfulness for what God has blessed us with. The exhaustion that threatened to overtake me a few minutes ago has receded a bit, and I feel refreshed. The refreshment is mostly mental and spiritual, and my body is still weary. But it’s enough to get me through the day.