One of the things I have a hard time writing about here is the fact that I am an annoying and incurable nester. I love to love our home and live in it. I love to shuffle everything around and reimagine and reuse. After four years of living here I think we are getting closer to using every inch well. Somehow, though, I never feel comfortable with that voice in my writing.
Today, I have the sweet privilege of sharing my home (or at least the downstairs portion) at Life Made Lovely. Heather is one of my favorite bloggers. Her faith story is truly a miraculous telling of how God meets us in our deepest loss and walks with us. Every week she shares a real home that is filled with real people. It is my joy to be featured there this week. I hope you’ll pop over there!
As I was putting together all the little bits and pieces, I found myself really wanting to tell the story of my sailboat painting. In the end, I decided to leave it out because I had already been wordy enough. It seemed like just the right sort of thing to share with y’all.
I hit repeat one more time. It’s a song: a beautiful guitar-driven mash of words about being on a journey. It’s Ben Rector’s “Sailboat” and it has attached itself to my heart. A song about a journey, yes, but not the beginning or the end. It’s a song about the middle: about going somewhere but not being there yet, about the inglorious day after day of not there yet. Somehow listening to it honors a truth–an anthem–beating its way through my heart. Life is full of beginnings and ends, yes, but it is full of so many middles. I want to honor my middles instead of only worshipping beginnings and ends. There is much in the middle to learn, sing, enjoy.
It’s the weekend before Christmas and Tom has given me a Saturday afternoon to run about. I drive five miles across town. I drive past the neighborhood where my Grandpa lived all of my childhood, with it’s metal-toyed playground. I meet my college roommate at Atlanta Bread Company. Just like every year it’s almost Christmas and it’s a balmy 80 degrees. We sit outside in the breeze and drink hot coffee. We have one hour to talk about everything and nothing. It’s a gift. On the way home, I pop in to my favorite thrifty antique store. I’m looking for cheap oil paintings, mostly landscapes or portraits. I scan all the same booths that usually have art and I turn the corner to go home. My eyes light on two sailboats caught in green and blue waves. It’s too much to spend on myself days before Christmas so I settle for a portrait study of a woman with bouffant hair in sepia tones.
It’s the day after our Christmas festivities. All the family are gone. We’ve settled in to watch The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. My six year old is in heaven. He is Reep! He is Peter! He is Caspian! He swashes imaginary swords and tumbles around the den. In no time, we’re watching Reepicheep cross over and through tall waves into Aslan’s land. I am a mess of tears with Lucy and Edmund as they say goodbye for a long time. I think about Christ. About how faithful He is. About how He is in the middles with me. I remember how they got there: through a painting of a Narnian sailboat.
Later, I lay my head on the pillow and pull our heavy down comforter up over my chin. I’m thinking about that sailboat painting in the antique store. I get up and count my Christmas spending money. There’s enough and I go to sleep vowing I will drive over the bridge to buy my painting in the morning. I wake up praying, hoping it is still there.
It is. I buy it and smile all the way home. I thank God that He speaks to us in all kinds of ways. Later, I hang my sailboat painting right there in our bedroom.
I look at it everyday. And everyday I thank God for beginnings, ends and, most especially, middles.