Rocking gently on the front porch, she sighs contentedly. This Old House is her sanctuary, a reward from a long journey. Every plank of the wooden floors is buffed with love. The walls of each room are painted with delicate soft colors. The furnishings within were chosen with much care and after long deliberation. The drapes and the coverlets in each bedroom are handmade. The kitchen table and chairs were commissioned by a local artist. These wicker rockers and settee were store-bought of course; with these chair pads and pillows, there is a personal touch. They add value and significance, do they not? The evening sun sinks further; the evening breeze picks up gently. Life is good; she sighs again.
Her storybook life gave her many gifts. Home meant love and acceptance. Home taught her the right thing to do at the right time. Home was comfortable and never lacking nor struggling. Home meant sinking your hands deep in the rich earth, planting gardens and cultivating flowers. Home meant fried chicken, potato salad and fresh pies. Home meant pastoral views with an orchestra of cicadas under the glow of fireflies. Home meant a blanket of winter wonderland, fir Christmas trees, roaring fires and majestic horses across the landscape.
The tinkling of ice cubes shifting in the tumbler while melting into small spheres invades her doubts and thoughts. Silent tears trickling down her face betrays her sigh of contentedness, evidence of the tumble of doubts and thoughts of fear.
Her storybook life gave her many gifts within a safe haven. But when she left that safe haven, life changed somehow. There is nothing sure, nothing warm, nothing simple. People live in the same house but a home is rare. People are tolerated and rarely loved. People rush about, never taking a second look much less taking an opportunity for genuine conversation. People have so much pain and anger, so much disillusionment. The wildfires of their lives pop up like midnight riots, bent on destruction.
Her thoughts take on the form of a whispering prayer, “I don’t understand them but surely they just need to be loved and accepted; they just need to open up! I come and go and no one even notices. I am kind and gentle, always encouraging to everyone. I do my job well; I am a responsible citizen. I give to the poor; I go to First Church every Sunday morning. I bother no one. Yet I sit alone every evening on this lovely porch of This Old House and no one hears a word I have to say. Lord, I don’t understand, but surely I need to be loved and accepted too! They just need to open up.”