August 8, 2011

Grace abounds in a home with squeaky floors

The gospel of grace calls us to sing of the everyday mystery of intimacy with God instead of always seeking for miracles or visions. It calls us to sing of the spiritual roots of such commonplace experiences as falling in love, telling the truth, raising a child, teaching a class, forgiving each other after we have hurt each other, standing together in the bad weather of life, of surprise and sexuality, and the radiance of existence. Of such is the kingdom of heaven, and of such homely mysteries is genuine religion made. Grace abounds and walks around the edges of our everyday experience. - Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

A couple of months ago my husband and I moved into our "new" house (built in 1991) with a very pregnant belly.  A couple of weeks later we brought baby Audrey home.  Walking around the house the floors squeak and I'm starting to learn the spots.  I'm learning where to step and where not to step when tip toeing around the sleeping baby.

The baby is sleeping right now so I have some quiet time to do "me" things.  I'm working on a slipcover for a crummy old ottoman I got for $20 off of craigslist.  Walking around in the room with the ottoman I found a new squeaky spot and I smiled to myself.

This house immediately felt like home to me, and the squeaky floors are part of that.  They remind me of... home.  They remind me of the home I spent my first 18 years in and they make me want this to be the home baby Audrey spends her first 18 years in.

The squeaky floors remind me of my 5-year old self waking my mom in the middle of the night for a snack.  Sitting at the kitchen table with her, a little bit of pepsi, and some cheese crackers.  Loving that we were up while the neighborhood slept.  

The squeaky floors remind me of my 7-year old self racing through the house to the restroom in the middle of the night.  Racing, because I was scared of what lurked where it was too dark to see.  

They remind me of playing rummy by flashlight or candlelight when the electricity would go out.  

They remind me of dragging furniture from my room to my brothers room and from my brothers room to my room... weeks after he had gotten new wallpaper... now my wallpaper.  Blue, with little white seagulls I think.  They remind me of dragging the same furniture back to their original rooms months later. 

Waking up and tip-toeing to my dad's brown lazy-boy chair.  Curling up with my head on one of the arms and looking into the kitchen until someone noticed I was up.  My parents stirring their coffee and chatting.

The one window that always let in water when it rained.  At least it was the bathroom window!  I can even hear the sound of the wooden shutters that hung on the inside of that window.

Sitting on the back porch in a wet bathing suit, wrapped in a worn-thin beach towel, water dripping onto the floor from my dangling feet, eating a tomato stuffed with seafood salad, squeezed with lemon, and surrounded by triscuits.  

They remind me of my 9-year old self knocking on the shower wall, signaling my mom that I was ready for the towel that had been warming by the wood-stove.  Sitting with my back to that wood-stove to dry my long hair.

The squeaky floors remind me of my 17-year old self coming home late after everyone had gone to bed. Coming home to find a "mibb" warming the bed where my feet would go and a sweet note from mom on my pillow.  

The things that were normal and mundane have become the things that shape the memories of my childhood and they have become the things that bring to mind happiness when I look back.  

The squeaky floors in our new old house bring to mind happiness when I look back.  I pray that Audrey's normal and mundane experiences in this house become happy memories of her childhood one day.  I pray that she finds love in the ordinary things and I especially pray that she finds God in the ordinary things... that she recognizes all the blessings that so many of us tend to overlook.