Friday, June 27, 2014

re-reading psalm 84

Happy are those whose strength is in you,
    in whose heart are the highways to Zion.

The last morning of my visit with my sister in North Carolina, I got up while the house was still. Through the cracked door of my sister's room I saw that her side of the bed was just pillows and blankets. The rest of her family was still asleep. I texted my sister, assuming she was running,then drank coffee and laced up my shoes for a run. The roads around her house were long, mostly narrow and meandered through newly constructed housing developments and up and down rolling hills until they met one another. Some had sidewalks bordering the asphalt, but most were lined with just a margin of gravel and then green grass that grew without a human to tame it, not regularly anyway. The land that had managed to avoid being turned into housing grew wild with tall grass and trees, whose branches and leaves covered me from the steamy sun. This feels like home, I thought to myself. Like the roads in Pennsylvania that I ran along in high school, and rode my bike along in elementary school, that my parents drove me along all growing up. It was good to know that my heart can hold the memory, the feel of this place. In whose heart are the highways to ... 

It helped me to know I could always find my way back.

*   *   * 
How lovely is your dwelling place,
    Lord of hosts! 

For a day in your courts is better
    than a thousand elsewhere.

I like my sister's house. Where my apartment is small and cut up into pieces to make distinct rooms, hers has lots of open space. The kitchen opens into the eating space opens the living room opens into the dining room. On a few mornings, I sat on her deck with my coffee in the quiet. One morning it was warm and sunny and birds showed off how beautiful they are there. The next morning it was misting, which seemed to muffle everything and keep everyone but the full frogs in bed. But even more than the house or the yard or the neighborhood was the people who filled it. I cut vegetables with my sister in that kitchen; I made friendship bracelets with my niece in the eating space; we played games at the dining room table. I heard my niece laugh time and again, one of the millions of things I love about her. I watched my nephew nap on the couch, hoping he'd feel better than he had the night before, imagining what an incredible young man his sensitivity and intelligence will make him. I could stay here for days, I thought to myself. I could live here. And yet somehow there is a place for which I might trade thousands of days at my sister's house in North Carolina to live in for just one day. 

There is a place that is that full of goodness, that much like a home.

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