I’ve been thinking about home. I’m at home, so I guess what I’m really thinking about is being here – here in our so-and-so many square feet – and what that represents for me at the moment. Fall is in the air, for one thing, which means winter is coming, and winter is a time I love a lot. In winter home becomes even smaller and quite specific in being not the house and deck and garage and yard but the inside: these rooms, this furnace-provided warmth, these windows facing the low bright southern sun, these blinds against the early winter dark.
We’ve also been away for weeks at a time over the past months and now we’re home again without any immediate plans to leave. So I’ve been enjoying that too, settling back in with the projects centered in this place. One of those projects – more like an interval of particular happiness – concerns a week in October when our children and six grandchildren will all be coming “home” for a Thanksgiving family gathering.
So I’ve been settling in, and I’ve been preparing. This involves touch, one closet, one cupboard, one drawer at a time. I won’t do everything of course; I’m not that fond of cleaning. I’m doing the most messy, the most urgent, and I spread it out. But it’s a kind of pleasure all the same. By looking into and cleaning and re-ordering these spaces, I get my bearings as it were. I remember where I live and what I’m living with.
By clearing clutter and getting the guest rooms ready, I’m also thinking of the people who will be here in a couple of weeks and that puts me in joy mode already. It occurred to me that when Jesus assured his friends “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2) he may been thinking not only to comfort them but also to comfort himself. We miss those we love and so we prepare for them, the house itself a tangible process of our longing.
Beautiful essay, Dora. You are dwelling in your dwelling. Reminds me of the tradition at spiritual retreats where you put clean sheets on the bed and clean the cabin as a form of prayer for the next person to dwell there.
I am beginning to think of Thanksgiving week also with the whole family gathered. Joy.
As always, Shirley, I appreciate your comments. — Cleaning, “a form of prayer,” yes; thank you.