Wednesday, April 1, 2009
For the first 16 years of our married life, my husband and I were in some sort of schooling. We were very productive during this time of our life--We got 4 graduate degrees between us and all 4 of our children were born. Like most graduate students we didn't have much money. We also moved a lot (around 17 times) looking for affordable and safe housing--which was hard to find!
As we looked at the many different houses we had to choose from, I was always especially drawn to the ones that had a front porch. I mentioned to my co-worker how much I felt drawn to porches and she bought me a calendar that had beautiful glossy pictures of porches from all different kinds of locations. Just leafing through the calendar pictures brought a calm, serene feeling to my otherwise harried life.
In a time of life when we were never in a location for too long, porches reminded me of the importance of slowing down and spending time with God and with people--valuing relationship. Porches are the part of the house that a person encounters first. Maybe there are rocking chairs that beckon someone to sit for awhile, or maybe there's just dead plants and rusty toys. How do I extend myself to others? Do I welcome people into my life or do I send a message that I don't have time for them?
Just before my husband finished his final graduate degree (Hooray!), my son, then 5, took a liking to The Andy Griffith Show reruns. Regularly our whole family would end up around the television totally taking in our 30 minutes of life in Mayberry. Many time Andy, Barney, Aunt Bea and Opie would find themselves on a Sunday afternoon on the front porch. Andy was strumming his guitar and everyone else was semi-comatose. They were just being with each other. Peacefully.
That is how I want to extend myself to others. I want to offer God's love to people and welcome them as they are. Words are fine, but they aren't necessary. Being comfortable and authentic with each other are what's important. That kind of fellowship goes down like a cool drink of iced tea on a hot summer's day.
So whatever situation you may find yourself in today, pull up and sit a spell with me. Enjoy the small selection of "porch music" I've assembled, close your eyes and feel the warmth of God's love and the sun on your face. . .