December 22, 2011

a big, big, house

I've got some new wheels turning in my head and I wanted to share them with you.  I haven't done anything about them yet, and it's always a danger with me to think exciting new thoughts and then, satisfied with just the thoughts, leave the accompanying actions languishing on the mental back burner .... indefinitely.

Here goes.

This morning our moms' group met.  We'd each brought an anonymous gift for an exchange, and while we sat around them in a circle of metal chairs, we had a time of sharing and prayer:  first things first.

One mom shared about a cousin, homeless, coming with her young daughter to stay with them till she gets back on her feet.  I mentally raised my eyebrows and thought "wow, didn't this mom let some other friends stay with her till they got back on their feet?!  She must have the patience of Job!"  I pictured the chaos, loss of privacy, and interrupted routine, and shook my head at the thought of doing what she had courage to do.

And then I remembered my aunt, who, having raised her own multitude and fostering many others, has recently taken in a family of nine (9!) children on a "temporary" basis.  Two months later, their lives turned inside out with loving nine extra souls, they are still giving.  And giving.  And giving.

The home of a woman I know (whose decorating skills and budget have often tempted me to envy) flashed through my mind, flawlessly decorated room by flawlessly decorated room, and I wondered what the houses of my friend and my aunt look like while they provide a home for the homeless.

I realized that I have equated beauty with success.  I thought that that was my purpose in my home.  That order and cleanliness were the goals.  A sort of visual peace is what I have sought after - in direct conflict, sometimes, with the living that necessarily goes on, since I share "my" home with five others.

But that's not the point at all, is it?

The point of a home is to be a place of belonging for people.  Somewhere to come to, out of the storm.  Somewhere that, as they say, "if you go there, they have to take you in."

A place of love.

I am broken, again.  "You are not your own; you are bought with a price."  The very air I breathe is on loan from above.  There is nothing, nothing, I can truly call my own.

Not even my house, "my" sanctuary.

True sanctuary is within, in the meeting with my Lord and my God in the inner places of my heart.  To arrange my home to feel peaceful can be a gift to those who dwell within its walls.  But to house in my very being a peace which passes all understanding is a far greater gift, and can be given whether the floors are clean and the knick-knacks dusted, or not.

Now, those are my thoughts.  Who are you going to send, Lord, to give me a chance to live them out?

[and in case you're thinking, but my house is too small for even the family that lives in it!!  here's a link to a related article, on small-house hospitality]


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