Despite the fact that I have little time to spare in this last (!!! YES!!!) week of Fall Quarter, I am feeling that it is important that I take a few moments to reflect upon the past few months. It has been a whirlwind: buying a house, starting my 2nd year towards a PhD, having bought a house, dealing with a new commute, dealing with having bought a house...basically the house has crammed my ever-busy-bein' mind to the gills. And often, that has not been a happy place for me to be. Today, however, after months of others being so happy and excited for this new step in our lives (and now that most of the place is looking lived-in!), I really am thankful for this home. It has taught me some surprising things:
1. It is important to go with the flow. Even if this means literally, going with the flow of rain that lets you know of the tiny holes in your roof and the water coming out of your dishwasher. Because, in my charmed life, I am married to and the daughter-in-law of two Handymen who will not only fix the roof in an afternoon, but find a gently-used, good-lookin' dishwasher to replace the old one just by remodeling a kitchen. Actually, we were on the receiving end of three such appliances from the same job! So going with the flow, while challenging mentally, can pay off. And if it doesn't literally pay off, your patience (for yourself, another person or a certain type of situation or disaster) will grow.
2. Sweeping twice a day, everyday really isn't all that bad. Our little house is all hard-floored. This is great on the one hand, since you can't sweep carpet and with two cats, fur accumulates way too fast. However, since we have outside-entrances on either side of the house (and the most-often used is on the kitchen-side), dirt accumulates quickly. However, because our home is quite small, it takes me all of about 15 minutes to sweep and clean the cat box (another one of my favorite daily chores). So, really, I can't complain or make many logical excuses to not just pick up the goshdurned broom and sing a little Mary Poppins tune while I sweep (though luckily, not the chimney!).
3. A woodstove isn't magic, and requires a LOT of poking and prodding...but I CAN make a fire! Our house is only heated by our trusty woodstove, since two of three wallheaters are kaputt and we don't really care to spend money to repair an inefficient source of energy. As a result, these cold snaps Seattle has been experiencing have provided some lessons in patience. Initially, the dry wood that we had abounded and we still had lots of newspaper. Now, however, we still have lots of wood but much of it hasn't had the time it would like to dry properly, making it difficult to really get a fire going, and definitely to keep it going. However, I do know how to make and maintain a fire, now!
4. New space, new pace -- and lots of grace! With a new commute that requires me to be away by 6:15am five days per week, I am usually hitting a pretty big energy wall by around 2pm. I also have what feels like five more excuses to lounge around doing nothing all evening every evening. However, the quarter system scoffs at such behavior no matter what time you get up, and so Michael and I are finally getting adjusted to these types of changes in our life. He has been trying to get up earlier so that he comes home earlier, too, making it more doable to eat dinner together and both get to sleep at a decent hour. These are hard habits to create, though, so we are trying to give ourselves and each other grace in the process. We have been working to notice the lessons it's teaching us and to talk about it all to avoid bottling up every little annoyance, and that seems to be working quite well.
All in all, I am reflecting today on the things I am grateful for, though I too often choose to think about the things that I wish were more balanced or more easily taken care of. We both have jobs and incomes, families that are nearby, and a home that we know will be quite nearly perfect for us quite soon. God always seems to want to teach you one more lesson than you think you are capable of learning, but we aim to learn despite ourselves. Today, may we all come into the Lord's shelter -- whatever that may mean for you at this moment. Some of us literally need physical shelter today, but others might need shelter from hunger, anxiety, prejudice...really anything can bring us to our knees and needing help. Seek His arms, for He longs to shelter you.