Friday, September 01, 2006

Torturing Myself--In A Good Way


This past week I have tortured myself a number of times. But like the title on this says--it's been a good thing.

It all started when Mrs. Staggs took a picture of her library books and I saw the spine of Sylvia's Farm. Of course, my own library didn't have it (after awhile you get used to that) and though I could have requested a copy and waited for it--I didn't want to wait. I read about Sylvia's Farm at amazon.com and it was love at first glance. They were practically giving them away over there ($1.90) so I bought one, it practically flew here the speed of light... and I have been moaning and groaning ever since.

Huh?

Oh, Sylvia's book is making me nuts. She writes of the 1800's 25-room farmhouse she bought 20 years ago.... and she writes about her little farm which she added to animal-by-animal (most of those animals being sheep). And the way she describes the hardships, well, she makes you want to have hardships just like hers. (Though, to be honest--no, I just couldn't raise sheep. She loses lots of baby lambs and my heart just could never bear it.) But other than that..... give me the wild snowy weather and the picking of berries and making jam in a hot kitchen and the barn cats and border collies and boarders in part of your house and being surrounded by hills in a quiet valley and well, you get the idea.

So there she goes describing it all and then she'll turn a phrase just so and it turns my heart and makes me cry and slam the book shut ... and then wonder at myself and this mid-life behavior I am displaying so classically.... Wanting to do something right now which I may be too old to do if I wait much longer. Wanting to at least try something different. No, not on a grand scale, but on a small one.... A simple farmhouse on an acre or two. A couple dogs... a couple cats and maybe some chickens... and maybe fixing up a couple rooms ala bed-and-breakfast style for travelers only when we feel like having them.

And well, anyway... it wasn't enough that Sylvia was making me crazy with desire for a tiny farm, but then we took that country drive yesterday which I told you about and even without Sylvia's book, that always makes me crazy with farmlife desire, too. Always--and we take those drives often.

And if that wasn't enough, today we went to an estate sale.

Oh my. Oh my. Oh my. The house is for sale--it was big, but not too big and comfortable in a shabby sort of way. Owned by one family for 75 years and full of stuff from the 1930's and 40's. Tall original old kitchen cupboards, painted my favorite shade of green... a little corner space for a table.... A good-sized dining room, living room and sun room--all open and complete with built-in glass-door bookcases. And an attic with four little single beds in one end and then lots of space where the children probably played... and bookshelves beneath the windows for their books. You could almost picture all the Walton kids up there--the air felt alive with children from the past. And the basement--huge, little rooms, and more toys and tools and a workshop from long ago...

And it was all on a beautiful, green acre and a half.... with a barn just the right size, medium-size, with horse stalls, even... and a couple cute sheds... And again, it was all for sale... more quiet torture--this seeing what appeared a dream-come-true, but not for me. Not here, not yet. But the thing which saved it from being too painful, too tempting, was that the road was busy and the one neighbor on the right was too closely situated--only five feet away. I've had enough of closely-situated these 13 years and I am looking more country-toward.

But here is the good part... It is good for me to see and read about what I think I love... good for me to be inspired and to try to take from what I see that which I can make and do and be myself. I came away from that house wanting to collect more old stuff (okay, to some of you that does not sound like a good, holy thing)--but I wanted to collect it to give others, someday, the pleasure I was experiencing this day. The pleasure of fingering things from days and lives gone by.

I told God this week that I really, really appreciate His offer of a mansion in Heaven. Really, I do. But what I would prefer more--what my heart would love more--is a simple farmhouse in Heaven. Nothing huge and fancy or extravagant--just a basic old-looking, old-feeling farmhouse on an acre or two.

And I think--I really do believe--He smiled and said that would be fine. He said He'd been working on such a farmhouse for me all along.

And so in the meantime, this all becomes good for me... learning to wait gracefully is always a great thing, patience being a virtue and all. And maybe I won't have to wait till Heaven--or maybe I will. But either way, in the meantime, may I not only learn patience, but joy in the midst of waiting and how to use every single fiber of my imagination to make out of what I have, all the things I think I want. To be at my creative best and to teach myself to see possibility in every corner of my yard and home. And after I've done my best, after I've created all I possibly can--then to call it all Good. And mean it.

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