I was flipping through partially written blog posts of mine from earlier this year and found one unfinished piece called, Home. In a strange way it was helpful to re-read at this time. So much has changed for all of us over the last few weeks and home is suddenly being lived in to the max. An uncomfortable max in a lot of ways, I’m sure.
Driving home on a Thursday evening, headlights cutting through the darkness of late February's hold on daylight. Grocery bags packed with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack seven times over all piled on empty car seats and lining trunk space, anywhere I could quickly stack and jump back into the warmth of my heated vehicle.
I stop at the sign where one back road meets another and enjoy an extra minute of quiet before turning toward my house. Rarely does anyone travel down this road at 8:00pm to push me into signaling and proceeding before I’m ready. I’m free to enjoy stillness, free to pray uninterrupted for just a bit longer.
I sit and breath in my hushed thoughts offering them up to the Lord in vapors of whispered prayer. Home runs deep in my veins and only a minute or two passes before I can hesitate no longer and find my way to it.
Pulling into the U-shaped driveway I scan for children running across the porch or swinging freely in the back yard. There’s no one this time but in a few months when the grass is thick and sun is still hanging low in the sky and popsicles take their place back at the top of my grocery list; there will be children.
For now only the silent stars accompany my walk from van to kitchen door, fingers stretched around as many handles as possible.
It's quiet this time. Children are already tucked in, reading silently to themselves under the heat of sheet and blanket. The dishwasher hums a wet song and the dryer flops the last load of the day 100 times over until the heavy jeans surrender to the machine.
I recall my mom as a realtor telling me, “if you want to sell your home, bake bread before the showing.” She was right. There’s something powerful about the smell of fresh bread that encourages lingering a moment longer, listening a bit closer and hopefully being charmed into staying forever. Sold!
Oh, if gold crusted bread was all it took to make a house a home, wouldn’t that be just too simple? Though homemade bread may be powerful enough to comfort the ache of a homesick soul, there’s so much more to making home a place worth longing for again and again.
Edger Albert Guest wrote a poem about the strength home has on the soul when lived in well. He writes, “it takes a heap ‘o livin’ in a house ‘t make it home.”
So if you think nothing much is happening as you spend day after day under the same roof with the same people, know that little by little you’re turning your house into a home. Each breakfast served, candle lit and pillow dropped into freshly washed pillowcase is leaving an imprint on the ones you live with. Don’t underestimate the permanent strings you’re tying when you turn up the music and dance, or turn down the volume and pray; both will ink love into their memories and joy into their eyes.
There’s something big and unseen happening these unsure days in homes across the world, something more impacting than the moms and the dads of this generation could have created on their own. There’s heaps of living being done in houses now called homes.
My bread recipe:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons honey
3-4 cups flour
Heat butter, milk and water to about 115 degrees. In mixer with dough hook (or if you’re brave do it all by hand), stir flour, salt, yeast and honey together. Add hot liquids to dry and combine until dough forms.
Let rise in an oiled bowl for about 40 minutes covered. Place in an oiled bread pan covered with a towel for 10-20 minutes more. Remove covering and bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
"My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows. I am withering away like grass." Psalm 102:11