A rooted spot of native land
Jitter to Glitter is coming to you a bit early this week. Enjoy!
They left for the woods early in the morning … the man who holds us all together and our firstborn. He carried a chain saw and she — wearing work gloves two sizes too big for her slender hands, toted a red plastic fuel can. She was dressed head to toe in warm layers to keep out brittle winds and raging snowflakes. Her only recognizable feature was a strand of blonde waving frantically in her wake. She had volunteered to help with the wood cutting and perhaps, time alone with her daddy.
The rest of us awaited their return, cozy within the walls of a drafty farmhouse. Middle and youngest sprawled on the floor in front of the little black wood stove. Its welcome heat a great comfort to the dogs as well. They’re tails thumped the floor when I passed through the room carrying dirty dish towels and a stray sock. The washer and dryer were humming along, a pot of chicken noodle soup bubbled on the stove. A cast iron skillet cooled nearby, filled to the brim with flaky, browned biscuits. They were a magnificent sight for sore eyes and hungry bellies. Recipe here.
I am so very blessed.
The thought strikes while I’m wrist-deep in warm suds. I’m staring aimlessly out the window as I wash crumbs from dishes. Flakes continue to fall and I can see a brave chicken — nearly the color of my sponge — peeking her beak out of the coop before darting back inside. I realize it’s one of the most ordinary scenarios one could imagine. There are no striking, beautiful characters … no breathtaking locations … no exciting plots to add interest to passersby.
But there it is …
The immeasurable blessing of everyday life. Bountiful.
Have you heard of Trip To Bountiful? I saw the movie as a youngster, but I remember the story well. An elderly woman has an overwhelming desire to return to her idyllic hometown. Her identify, her comfort, her deepest heart secrets are rooted there.
Home … our identity, our mainstay. Home … our shelter from storms.
It’s so easy to exchange the joy of simple tasks for the bustle of every this, that and the other thing. When is the last time you stopped moving? When is the last time you stayed home to focus on family and the virtues of your life together? That has been my goal these past months. It is noticed and appreciated by those who share my home. We sat down to a late lunch on Saturday — the three housebound and the two returns from the woods with their rosy cheeks and thawing fingers and toes. We gave thanks and began spooning warm soup and spreading strawberry jam on steaming biscuits. He said to no one in particular…
“This is why we go to the woods to cut wood. Because we get to come home to this.”
Come home … come home.
You who are weary come home.
How much nicer must the return trip be when you’re assured comfort and solace and joy and warmth both physical and mental? The key to a happy home is not the number of throw pillows or a big screen television or the biggest and best. It is not the absence of clutter or the cleanliness of the carpet (though a clean home makes everyone feel better, just watch Hoarders if you don’t believe me!). The key to home as a retreat from the world is the feeling that envelopes those who walk through the door. They seek care. They seek comfort. They seek a sense of sheltered protection.
A human life, I think, should be well rooted in some spot of native land, where it may get the love of tender kinship for the face of the earth, for the labours of men go forth to, for the sounds and accents that haunt it, for whatever will give that early home a familiar unmistakable difference among the future widening of knowledge: a spot where the definiteness of early memories may be wrought with affection, and kindly acquaintance with all neighbors, even to the dogs and donkeys, may spread not by sentimental effort and reflection, but as a sweet habit of the blood. ~ George Eliot
Do you provide the roots … the spot of native land that becomes a sweet habit of the blood to those you love? Try it. It will change you. It will change your life. It will change the lives of your children and your spouse. When you focus on your family — on the place you live and love — you will find that worldly things fall away and an assurance, a strength of character pervades your family unit. You build trust … trust that no matter what, no matter why, you can rely on the people around you. They are your most important, your treasured few. Your gifts from God.
But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. ~ 1 Timothy 5:8
The Jitter to Glitter takeaway this week:
Love those around you with all of your heart and all of your soul and all of your mind … and prepare a place for them — and you — to seek each other’s company and reap the benefits of being, together.