This morning, as light and the singing of a choir filtered through the skylight in the wall–my wall–one sentiment overwhelmed the others: gratitude. More specifically, thankfulness for this new place in which I’m at home after living out of a suitcase and relying on the generosity of others for more than a month. And hope at seeing these rooms transform into someplace livable and lovely.
Slowly this empty space, which resounded with echoes when I first talked to my mom on the phone here, is being filled with our things. Maybe it’s ungodly or materialistic to treasure these items the way I have been, but familiar objects provide an odd comfort for us. More than just feeding our desire to consume and possess goods (which I’ll admit is a real part of our love of things), furnishings are our raw, artistic materials. When we decorate a room, especially with a hand-selected assortment of odds and ends, we are creating a scene that no one else has or ever will again. For better or worse–probably a little of both–it gives us an enormous sense of pride and uniqueness. That’s why I’m not immediately rushing to IKEA to fill up my room with a much-needed bed frame / desk / couch. I’m sure I’ll end up there for the cheapness of it all, but what’s the fun in having the same living space as a million other people?
Looking at apartment after apartment, I discovered what I was searching for in a home. Closeness to the things important to me. Affordability, of course. And a certain level of charm–a quality I feared I would have to forfeit in order to have the first two.
And so, waking up on a Sunday with my beloved hot water kettle near my air mattress bed (there’s nowhere to put the kettle in our tiny kitchen, of course), I enjoyed the comforting ritual of making myself a cup of coffee. As it brewed, I walked to the living room and listened to the nearby church choir, looking out into the rain and into the tiny, weedy garden outside our window. And I am grateful to be able to rest today.
Marilynne Robinson said it perfectly: “Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life.”