Sacred Scripture says: "A wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish will pull down with her hands that also which is built." (Proverbs 14:1; Douay-Rheims)
Several days ago, I was reminded of this verse. The moving company that my Husband and I hired quickly dismantled our home, one neat box of belongings at a time. It seemed that, in no time at all, everything we had created together was reduced to bare walls and empty rooms. And, as we shut the door behind us for the final time, the ghosts of our life there faded into a myriad of other secrets kept by the flat's four corners.
I have to admit, I did shed a few tears at the final parting. It was truly the end of an era.
I had feared that this transition would be harder on me than it has been. (That is not to say things have been easy, merely somewhat easier to bear.) This past weekend marked the 7th anniversary of my leaving home to become Catholic. For those of you who are long-time readers of my little blog, you will know that it was not a pleasant time in my life. Yet, I am glad that it helped to make me into who I am today. For every challenge, there is a blessing.
My Husband and I had been staying with his family for the past several days, living out of a suitcase. Last evening was our first overnight stay in our new home. The moving company finally brought us the rest of our belongings, and so we are now up to our ears in boxes! Well, that is not quite true. We have made quite a dent in said boxes, in a concerted effort towards getting things settled.
As I was putting together my kitchen-- which is the heart of our home, and my favourite room of all-- I felt very much like the first part of the scripture verse. Linings were added to the cupboards. Dishes were washed and put away. The pantry items were neatly arrayed. My several frilly aprons were happily hung up in their new spot. I began to think, what of the spiritual application? Here I am, building up my home with love and hard work. How much more so ought my marriage be built up through faith working through love?
What is love? As a priest recently reminded me, 1 Corinthians 13 is the ultimate discourse on charity, which is the truest form of love. To quote from the Douay Rheims version, verses 4-8a, "Charity is patient, is kind: charity envieth not, dealeth not perversely; is not puffed up, Is not ambitious, seeketh not her own, is not provoked to anger, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth with the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never falleth away..." I wondered-- Am I building up my home with patience, kindness, selflessness, gentleness, and prudence? Or am I tearing it down with contention, bitterness, and self-interests?
I think that perhaps building a home is a lot like building a stone fence: it is built one stone at a time. It also takes a lot of effort to create just a little patch of it, but it can be so easily torn down. In my own life, I make great strides most weeks toward building up my home and my marriage, but one major blow-up (taking up a mere 15 minutes) can have devastating effects. This has not been the case for a couple of weeks now, thanks to be to God, but it is something to think about and be aware of for the future. If I truly wish to be the prudent woman of the proverb. I must continue to build up instead of tear down. And, if a mistake is made, I must humbly accept correction for it and make reparation to patch up the "hole" in the "fence."
As for everyday life, it has been a blessing. My Husband and I have been lavishing our love upon our sweet toddler niece. Since I babysit her in the afternoons and evenings, she has gone everywhere with us. We are certainly getting very good parenting practise. Especially putting our home together with a little ankle-biter running about. ;-) I am further convinced that there is nothing so precious as the sight of a man holding a child. When I see the man I married-- a very stately "alpha male" type-- singing silly children's songs to our niece, doing something to make her burst into a fit of giggles, or rocking her to sleep on his broad shoulders, it absolutely melts my heart.
As to our new home, I could not love it more! It is a flat inside of an old converted textile mill. There is so much historical scope for the imagination! I feel a very personal connection between myself and the women who used to work here. (Perhaps there is a story in the making, eh?) I have to admit that I simply adore the exposed brick and high ceilings. My favourite features, aside from my beautiful kitchen, though, are the windows. Our windows expand nearly the entire length, from top to bottom, and the view looks out an old bridge expanding the river. Best yet, each window has a very large "window seat area." I fully intend-- once all is settled-- to curl up there some sunny afternoon with a good book!
It does not yet feel real, somehow. It is like I am living in a fairy-take. All of this keeps hitting me in little waves, though-- and I think the largest one of all will hit me when my Husband begins his new job and I give him our traditional farewell kiss.
I must share, though, a beautiful thing with you. It happened on the day my Husband and I moved in to our new home. My niece and I were playing together when, suddenly, I stopped. Something had permeated my subconscious. I strained to listen more attentively. Indeed, from another flat, a woman was praying. I immediately recognised it as Holy Rosary in Spanish. A joyous smile beamed across my face, and I began to recite the words along with her. I was reminded of my pilgrimage to South America-- particularly, the day in which my group had walked the streets along with thousands of locals, praying the Rosary and singing. That same day, so many miracles had occurred, my Husband's new job being one of them. To me, it was a hug from God-- and a beautiful confirmation of His hand in our lives.
Truly, I praise God for His little blessings. And I pray that my life may continue to be something beautiful for Him.