What kind of space constitutes as a home?
This past winter, I flew back from China to my home in Long Island, NY. I had taught middle school for three years, and in the process of trying to come home at the outbreak of Cov'd 19, weakness overtook my body. I had been battling stress and a chronic sickness for the past four years, and so my body finally had come to its end - it was worn out. In those many months of being back home, my soul received what it had been longing for: family, belonging, and rest.
Some months later, my parents and siblings dispersed across the country. I herein moved into my grandparents’ house in NJ. My grandmother's back porch became a home for me, its doors and flowering gate beckoning me to a place of Shalom and welcome (Inviting Friends Home).
My grandmother has fostered a space of rest, planting magnolias of many colors, ivy, moss and tucked-in pockets of wildflowers that simply engulf visitors in the garden’s assuring beauty. In doing so, she also makes a home for little friends, welcoming hummingbirds, bumble bees, scampering chipmunks and one curious cat to share in our delight.
As the neighboring animals settle into the space as I have, bees return the gift of my grandmother's garden by tending the many plants and flowers (Sowing Beauty). A little bumble bee is busy at work, pollinating the wild purple blossoms in celebration of the home it has been given.
As my grandmother and the bees sow works of love and care, they together reap a bounty of beauty for each to enjoy. I found that after receiving my grandparents’ lavish love, my response is, like the bees, to return it with my own gifts. Every day, I prepare lunch with fresh greens and roots and brew evening chamomile tea and honey, contributing to the sense of sanctuary and belonging in our home.
Sometimes, my grandmother picks a blooming flower, pollinated by the bees and brings it inside to grace her kitchen with its fragrant delicacy (A Fragrant Delicacy). I recall the verse, "he who sows much will also reap much."
As my grandmother gives life, she receives it, just as the bee who does his work well each day, and as I do in preparing tea and thanking my grandparents for their gift of home.
How can you grow a space for beauty and rest, a home for all living beings alike?