Friday, February 5, 2010

Looking from the outside in.

I love seeing our house from the outside in.

Something about standing outside of the house in the evening, looking in through the windows, puts enough of a romantic haze across the reality of lively inhabitants, the day's clutter trail, and work-to-be-done inside that it fills me with a sort of wonder that I really get to live there, in that homey place.

Angled lines where roof meets starry sky,
     Moonlight soft on weathered clapboard walls.

A longing fills the heart to belong to that place where
     hearth glow spills out of windows and open doors
          like liquid gold out into the night.

Inside…laughter, song, and talking
     overlap the sounds of kitchen chores 
         and children playing instead of getting ready for bed.

Folded arms and kindred love keep the chill at bay.

Am I homesick for my own home while standing in the yard?

A pang of joy;
     Imperfect home and those within
          satisfy this mother’s heart.

A joyful hope;
     Of promised home, with many rooms,
          to satisfy the soul eternally.

And opening the door so that gold spills out again,
I enter in.

Well, I should say usually fills me with a sense of wonder.  Sometimes I have more practical things on my mind.  Last week, when Kevin and I drove up our long dirt driveway in the evening, literally every single window was lit up on all sides of the house. It was a beautiful sight in an old farmhouse sort of way.  But, I wondered out loud if he was thinking what I was thinking . . . "So honey, when you come home after work and see the house lit up like that... are you thinking 'Wow!  I am so blessed to get to live there in that home!" Or are you pretty much thinking about the electric bill?"  We both laughed, because, of course, it's a little of both.

Some years ago, my book group read Manalive by G.K. Chesterton and that book has had a big impact on my attempts to view my life from the outside in - trying to envy myself, if you will, rather than get caught up in complaining in my heart about things that I notice far too easily from the inside out.  I'll try not to give away more than they put on the back of the book, but basically it's about a man who seeks constantly to appreciate what he already has and not grow dull to it.  In a fantastical story full of humor and both subtle irony and outrageous literalness, he woos and marries the same woman over and over again to see her with fresh eyes, he leaves his home (even abandoning his patient wife and children) so that he can come home again with appreciation for every blade of grass, he sneaks over roof tops to burgle his own home through the attic window and before entering, gazes into the home with fierce longing to possess that place, which is, in fact, his own.  There's much more to it and after the fact, during the book group discussion, I discovered that there's a whole lot in the book that suggests the Holy Spirit moving like the wind, and becoming like a little child in our appreciation of all the wonder out there (but honestly I totally missed that on my own).  What I did take away was the idea that most of us are really walking around barely aware of even our immediate surroundings, let alone the larger truths in life... "The things we see everyday are the things we never see at all."

What would it be like to be a man really ALIVE to everything?  Could we stand it?


1 comment:

jamsco said...


It is a gift of God when you can (one moment) long for something with great urgency and (the next moment) get it.

Treasure from the Junk Drawer
copyright © Sara Shull
•All text and poetry by Sara
•Art illustrations by Sara
•Photos by Sara or the Shull kids
~~~~All rights reserved~~~~

Bible verses:
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV)