Since moving into this townhouse in Purcellville, I’ve spent lots of time in various parts of the house. In the kitchen, cooking and cleaning – Oh, the joy of cooking again! And I never thought I’d be happy to clean a kitchen, but seeing it sparkling and pretty makes me happy. The dining room, at the table, eating, working on my computer, writing out a schedule – it’s almost like a giant desk all to myself since so few people are ever over. The living room, watching movies, curled up on the couch, taking naps, working on special projects, almost alway alone – it can get lonely sometimes, but having a couch to curl up on, in a quiet house can define the joys of living alone. My bedroom, sleeping, chatting on the computer, organizing my clothes, showering in my own shower, getting myself pretty in front of the large counter with two sinks all to myself, looking at my books lined up on the bookshelf, and feeling the absolute delight in having a huge room with a walk-in closet and big bathroom all to myself. How on earth will I go back to a dorm room after this?
But, attached to the back of the house, is a porch. I’ve always loved porches. And in the two weeks I’ve lived here, that porch has already felt my tears, my smiles, my writing, my dreaming, my working, my frustration, and my friends. It’s amazing the lessons I’ve already been learning out on that porch. In the mornings, if it isn’t raining, one of the first things I do is make a cup of coffee or tea, a small breakfast, take my diary, my Bible, and my devotional book, and sit on the porch at our small white table. The sun is always rising, if it hasn’t risen, and I love feeling it shine on me. The smells and sounds of the morning remind me of my week on the beach in Connecticut, bringing bittersweet feelings. And I already begin feeling a slight peace, provided I am not extra worried that morning. I start with my devotional book, trying desperately to let the words sink in and help me in one of the thousands of areas I need help. Today it was on calling, or gifts that God has given one. What gifts has He given you that you are not exercising? Oh, so many! Then I move on to the Bible, usually the chapter that the reading in the devotional book was based on, and I force myself to concentrate hard to understand the words. It is so hard these days to understand the words in the Bible. I fear that is a result of skipping devotions most of the semester, and leaving so little time until now to talk to God. It becomes easier the more I make time for devotions in the morning. Usually after I finish the passage in the Bible – and often before I finish it, I take my cup of coffee or tea, stand up, and begin pacing across the porch, back and forth, leaning against the railing, raising my face to the sun, or lowering it to look into the charming and quaint garden kept by our neighbors. Praying, usually beseaching God to actually hear me, and help me know that He hears me. Begging Him for a job, for understanding, for help out of the rut I seem to have put myself into. And moving into asking Him to forgive me for my complete lack of faith and trust, sometimes crying at some point, often panicking, and always remembering how little I’ve dedicated my life to Him this semester. But that time on the porch has helped me as I try to make it through these days, re-dedicating my life, and remembering what it is to trust. Feeling the sun, the breeze, hearing the birds, and even the lawn mowers continually running reminds my of the little joys in my life – and how much God has really given me that I tend to overlook.
In the afternoons, again unless it is raining, I sit out again, sometimes with my lunch, occasionally with my computer, and almost always with some sort of reading. I prop my legs up, flip my hair back, and read with a feeling of uttermost contentment as the sun starts working a tan on me. Saturdays, sitting out there, usually with a friend, tanning and reading, I feel as though I live in the most idyllic existence, and I can’t believe how good God has been to me. In those times it is easy to believe that everything will work out.
In the evenings, I love stepping out again and feeling the warm night breeze, sometimes, jotting down a thought, feeling romantic and mysterious when I am probably just looking ridiculous. But it helps me find peace again. That little private spot, my own place to go, a haven right in the back of the house.