The many bouts with sickness this winter have left flu-like aches and pains abounding and part of me wants to pout instead of ponder. My muscles have not stopped aching for w.e.e.k.s!
However, I am completely aware most of us go through seasons like this. It doesn't have to be chronic illness that causes us to feel we are moving upstream... slowly. I remember my own days with delightful little ones around and how I felt each night as I dropped (literally) into bed.
Then there are friends who care for others who are going through illness or hard times. They willingly take on their shoulders the burdens of others (and what would we do without them?). Financial burdens can bring about real physical symptoms, too.
My brief time of complaining is over and it is time to get back with life "as it is". When I see pictures of people who are really suffering (especially children in third world countries), I know one needs to go on and do the best we can. Perfection will not happen on this side of Eternity.
I loved what Bill Bright said in The Journey Home, when his wife asked him why he thought God was letting him suffer. He honestly was surprised at the question, saying he didn't think of himself as suffering since he had a warm and cozy bed, loving family and friends, etc. (This is a man who was on oxygen to breathe!).
I understand what he was saying, though. I thought the same thing myself this weekend when I was "suffering" with illness. We had our carpets cleaned on Friday, something I'd questioned my husband if it really was a priority. (He reminded me $100 spent now will be much less costly than buying new carpeting in a few years.) Well, he was absolutely right as all the stains are gone and the carpet looks brand new. What a difference it meant in our family room alone!
Anyway... I digress... we spent Friday evening and Saturday returning furniture where it belonged (mostly the menfolk doing the moving back) and then I returned the accessories. As I put back the pictures, dried flowers, lamps, candles, etc., I was reminded how it is all of these little things that make our home warm and cozy. I wanted to go through every room and just give it a big hug for truly this was the one place in the entire world that was meant for my family to enjoy.
We have lived in houses we owned (as now) and also in rental housing. It was all the years spent renting that made me realize a true home is the people in it and the objects (that we love) which we bring to it. How many times we made a move and within a week I would have all the old familiar "stuff" around us. There was especially something magical (Narnia magic, you know) when the artwork and pictures were hung. I'm not sure why that made such a difference... unless it is because these were at eye level as we walked through the house or apartment.
Then when a few familiar meals had been served on everyday china, well loved books unpacked, and photos placed on tables... we were "home"... even if the new community was still to be explored. That is how I felt this weekend as the carpets dried and the near empty rooms came back to life.
I know for certain that God understands our need for familiar beauty to surround us each day. Jesus gave few specific insights into Eternity but one of them was that He was going to prepare a PLACE for us... a dwelling place. He is well aware how important "place" and "home" is to each of us. And... if the instructions for building the Place where He dwelt on earth in the Old Testament is any example... God is one amazing "decorator".
I still don't feel very well today (physically) but the rest of me is experiencing great joy as the sun is actually shining, the birds are singing (in bird language... I'm thinking they are bewildered at all the white stuff around them... even if it is melting), and I can just feel spring around the corner. In the meantime, I am going to stay inside where it is above freezing and do some reading... in between loads of laundry. Hmmm... at least I don't have to take my clothes down to the river and beat them with a rock! :)