Time is both fast and slow. It’s hard to believe it’s already late March. It’s equally hard to believe that we have been in pandemic mode for over a year. The days blur together, but parts of them are crystal clear. We have had the sweetest of seasons in so many respects. We have also witnessed and felt the deepest of pains.
Right now, I’m huddled at home. My regular turning inward in times of stress is exacerbated by the work being done outside of my house. We are painting. More accurately, Dad and Dave are painting. I am just reaping the benefits of their hard work. Because we are painting, the windows are covered with plastic sheets. They have been since Sunday. The original plan was to paint on Monday, but the weather forced those plans to change. The painting started today. All week, we have been unable to look out the windows. It’s a different sensation. Personally, I am quite the fan.
This week has been a hard week at work. Things are moving quickly. I have been dealing with people outside my office more than normal, and those dealings always feel strained. I despise the conflict aspect of my work and minimize it by staying behind the scenes as much as I can. But that strategy failed this week. I felt the conflict daily, and it affected everything about me – my feelings, my activities and most definitely my sleep.
The covers on the windows helped. As I got up from my desk and walked around, I felt especially safe in this space. Everything in my home feels like home to me. That makes sense, right? It’s my space and has been for nearly twelve years. It suits me. But lately, it’s become even more my home as Dave has done some things to make it more his.
First, he mounted an old door horizontally on our dining room wall and hung all of our coffee mugs on hooks he strategically placed around the door. Now, remnants of my and our various adventures are visible every time I walk through that central room of the house. I see races, visits with friends, my boarding school, churches we have loved, gifts from my niece and other loved ones, and so much more. My life is on that wall, and it brings me so much joy.
Second, also related to the door, Dave mounted a metal collage of our wedding photos where a pane of glass had been in the door. That collage of us, our immediate families, and the very small handful of friends who helped with the wedding makes me smile every single time I walk by it. We got married just over nine weeks ago, and I vividly remember the joy of that day. I loved every moment of it, from the morning run we did together to the coffee we had on the couch in the final hours where I chose to linger in the dress I loved. What I would give to live that day over again and again.
It’s a quiet night here. Dave is at a training. I can hear the washing machine churning. I am tempted to make an evening coffee as I realize that my day moved so quickly that I still have not had my ritual cup. I do not care for frenzy. Or stress. I have crafted a life I love, with a man I love, in a space that I love, doing things that I love as often as possible.
This space is my refuge. I could stay here, with the windows covered, indefinitely if I had to. The days and weeks and months could continue to tick by, and I would love it here, just as it is right now.
I know this season of being mostly at home will eventually come to a close. Whether that will be this summer or the fall, I do not yet know. But I am preparing myself for the days to both blow and eek by, as they have for the last year. I am embracing the laundry, the vacuuming, and the random petting of cats that I get to do throughout my work day. And I’m trying to remind myself that work is not always this hard. The hard, like most things, is a season. And how I hope that this season will be brief.
I’m working hard not to get pulled along with all that’s happening right now. Instead, I want to slow down. To see and smell and feel better and more. The stillness of the last year has left me intolerant of being pushed and rushed and forced in a direction I do not want to go. Being in my space has felt peaceful – a peace I had not previously known. And now I feel a strength to protect that peace no matter the cost.
Slow. Safe. Strong. Joyful. Restful. Peaceful. Grateful. I have been all of those things in the past year, and I cling to those things even as the seasons rush and change around me. I can do that in this, my precious space.