|My half-finished house -|
And my horse eating the roses
It’s been so long since I have taken the time to sit at the garden bench. Life gets in the way, busy takes over, and the simple things get left behind. But if one doesn’t step back and take a breath, the world can become a life threatening avalanche.
A few days ago I was talking with my mother on the phone. It’s something I don’t do nearly enough – it’s that ‘busy’ thing. Of course we talked about dozens of things only a mom and daughter can appreciate, but somehow the conversation came around to the many times our family has picked up and moved, just to follow the adventure.
Often times the house we stayed in for those short periods, wasn’t in the best of shape. But no matter. At least it didn’t matter much to me. What mattered was the adventure itself. The journey. The learning. The experience of witnessing first-hand the miracles of creation as we traveled through desert or mountain, or the fragility of society as we lived in Georgia in the 60’s.
Sometimes the house was so small that my parents had to split the one bedroom so my little brother would have a place of his own, and I would get a curtained off spot behind the sofa. Sometimes we would have a camper between a Quonset and a massive airplane hangar on a decommissioned Army airfield. Sometimes it was only the camper shell on the back of our short-bed pickup. However, the place I laid my head was nowhere near as important as the place I was privileged to see. And Yes! I did help mother with all the domestic stuff like cooking and cleaning up. Back then I thought it was fun.
But what about now? Is it still fun to haul water and cook over an open fire? Yes. It actually is. I guess I got used to the strangeness of pioneer life as a child, so it didn’t ever bother me when I lived in less than stellar conditions as an adult. Hopefully my children can look back on some of these days and finally understand how I could be so happy during the time we lived in an Army tent and had to haul in our water. For me, waking up with the songs of birds and the scent of the earth was close to spiritual. I enjoyed every minute, to include when a three inch tarantula traipsed across the living area one night.
The past twenty-five years have had their ups and downs, living with a combat veteran who went years without treatment for PTSD. As I look back, only a very few years, count them on one hand, did we live in a place with any luxuries at all. And yet those years have been filled with joy, love, adventure, and wonder.
Many times people have asked me how I could live that way. One lady went so far as to ask me in shock, “But, how do you wash?” My answer, “With water, just like you.” She was confused since I didn’t have running water in my home. I explained that of course I have running water – when I run to the store to fill up my jugs! Besides, I'm one of the lucky ones - I have electricity! It is a story often repeated, and still humorous (to me).
The question remains. Why am I happy living in a hut which I built myself. A hut without much room for privacy for two people, and which doesn’t have a proper bathroom or even a hot water tank. (Well, I do have an on demand water heater. It’s just not hooked up yet)
Simply put. This is not my home. It’s the only answer that makes sense even to me. For one thing, I do most of my living outdoors. I only come into my shelter to sleep or prepare food. Yeah, and it’s a place I can plug in my computer and work. Outside I not only do the earthly things I love to do, but I also feel a deep spirituality. I experience a closer walk with God. And I realize: I’m happy in this less-than-perfect-house because this isn’t my home.
I am only in this place a short time. A breath. A blink of the eye in eternity. My home is with Jesus, and I look forward to a much nicer place to lay my head when my work here is done. Come to think of it, I have it better than our Lord when He walked this Earth. He didn’t even have a place to lay his head, so who am I to complain?
So, my answer as to why am I so happy living the way I do, is this: This is not my home. I’m only camping out on this pretty blue planet. I’m enjoying the sights and sounds while I can because in reality I live in an unimaginably wondrous mansion which was built especially for me.