October 3, 2012 // Uncategorized

Porch sitting

Cracked and peeling old white wicker furniture waits for me on our front porch. My husband bought me the set years ago when we lived in a different house and frankly, lived a different life. Back then, I sat on the then new wicker rocker and swayed back and forth with my newborn daughter, smelling the freshly mown grass from the neighbor’s yard and taking in the laughter of the young children who rode their bikes on our subdivision driveway.

I sat on that same furniture when I was reeling from a cancer diagnosis, and I sat there, months later, huddled in blankets on a cold October afternoon when I finished my last round of chemotherapy, relieved.

In the wicker chair I watched the rhythm of the lives around me press on. A middle-aged mother whose children had grown rode her bike past my house nearly every afternoon. A policeman neighbor returned from work in the morning after a long night’s work. Children climbed off of a bright yellow school bus at 3 p.m. Their loud and joking manner, and their playful pushing and shoving one another made me crave both their energy and pine, if only for a moment, for a time in my life when the biggest decision was what snack to eat after school.

Today, the same wicker furniture, now flaking bits of white paint, decorates our porch in front of the country home in which we now live. The newborn who once rested in my arms in that rocker is now reading and writing and taking ballet lessons. The son whom I waved away to college on that old front porch has been out of school for several years and lives in another state, a young adult, making his own life. I still sit in that same rocker. I shake my head, and take this all in.

Instead of watching a bustling neighborhood, I now see in my wicker chair God’s majesty and glory in nature. A red tailed hawk has made our land his own, and daily I see him watch and wait for the little ground squirrels that pop their heads up in the field. I hear the gentle cooing of a mourning dove or observe a doe and her fawn prance across the dew-stricken, long grass. I watch the sun rise red over the neighbor’s pond and while I do not formally pray on the porch — I have a special place in the house where I like to do that — I do contemplate God there.

Last summer my second oldest son had graduated from college and was embarking on his career in a city far away. That summer he offered to do some chores before he left, to help his mama catch up on projects she wanted to accomplish. God bless him. Of course one of the first projects I wanted done was to keep up the front porch and have the wicker furniture repaired and in top condition. Together we repainted the white railing surrounding the porch. Then he carefully and meticulously repaired the legs on my white wicker rocker, rewrapping a bit of wicker that had come loose and gluing it, then nailing the leg back securely on.

In the early summer of this year, June to be exact, my oldest, college-aged daughter and I leisurely relaxed on that old wicker furniture together, often with a cup of steaming coffee in our mugs, catching up. She spent the last semester studying in Ireland and jumped immediately into her internship and work upon arriving home. Sitting together on the porch, in the wicker, watching God’s hand in the beauty around us, time flew. The relationship grew. Porch sitting is such a gift!

Nearly every night in the warm weather, my husband and I also sit in the evenings on that same wicker furniture. We ponder love, life, our children, our God. …

Every family needs a background canvas upon which to paint their life. Sitting on the white wicker is our background, our constant.

Every one needs a place to retreat to think during struggles and a place to laugh and hope and dream. That place for us is our front porch, in our wicker, where relationships are built and ideas explored. Jokes are told and stories of the day recounted. Hurts are soothed, accomplishments applauded, and life in its usual rhythm is seen and moves on.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. …” — Eccl 3

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