Sunday, March 6, 2016
Resorting to Quiet
In my small (not Tiny) house, the bedroom is at the front corner with one window facing due East, the other due South, so it's the sunniest, most cheerful room in the place. Well, it might be cheerier if it wasn't painted pink. I'm not a fan. But this room has always been pink, it was my mother's pink room, and somehow I can't take responsibility for abandoning that wish. The room just wants to be pink! Who am I to argue?
Realizing that I couldn't change the color of the room, I set about doing something with the furniture instead. Believing firmly that green resolves all other issues (hey, take a look at a garden sometimes--that will show you how to put colors together; everything cooperates with green), I got busy painting the furniture green and white and, okay, a little yellow. But yellow is my favorite color--it's gotta be in there somewhere, and I am of the notion that a bit of whimsy is necessary. Matching is for people who are bored and tired with life.
But fitting the furniture in the pink room wasn't easy. It was like a jigsaw puzzle that had more than one answer; I just had to figure out the best one. The only solution that made sense and allowed me to keep my cheval mirror was to put the bed catty-corner between the windows. As with pink, I'm not a fan of catty-corner but keeping the mirror was key and settling everything harmoniously was a must. I can live with catty-corner, just like I can find a way to tolerate pink. The world is not a perfect place, and it shouldn't be.
What the bedroom should be, though, is quiet. Absolutely, resolutely quiet. How can people expect to repair themselves without resort to quietude? No phone. No TV. No electronics. A room that could go back in time to the 1920's and pass muster without undue notice--that's what I want, that's what I need. My furniture is older stuff: my grandmother Cassie's WW1-era dresser, the simple 1950's tall bureau that Nana (my mother's mother) found at a flea market, the Victorian dressing table that my mother used as a desk, and the common cast iron bed that I discovered rusting in a field near a country antiques store--the owner let me have it for a bargain price just to be rid of it. From the moment I laid my hand on it, I knew it was mine; my bed, my bed. There's not much else in the bedroom--a low stool, a 1920's straight chair, a small table, and the pretty reproduction cheval mirror with the cute birdies on top. I like things with cute birdies; I always have.
Cheerful. Sunny. Quiet. A place of restoration and revivification.
That's what I really needed five days in on my pneumonia battle. Every day I've persevered. I've gotten up, gotten dressed, gotten going. Yesterday I didn't. Daisy the cat curled up in the beam of sunshine coming in through the South window, and I was right there with her while we cat-napped the day away. Lunch was a bedroom picnic of sorts--an elderly banana, a glass of orange juice diluted 50% with water, and wholewheat saltines with cheese. A feast!
Saltines--just imagine. I was surprised to discover that they were really quite salty. You see, I don't buy saltines ever. But my tenant does. She believes that you simply can't get better of anything unless you've had soup and saltines, so she delivered a sack to my front door yesterday that contained two cans of Campbell's Tomato and a sleeve of crackers. If you really never have something, it can be the most amazing treat, and that's how I felt about those saltines. My tenant's good hopes and wishes added considerably to the gift--truly a healing thing. And there was tomato soup to enjoy for supper. I had it with "Soldiers"--homemade bread cut into long thin strips for dunking; I like tomato soup best that way--that's how my mother and my grandmother made it when I was little.
The world is so full of goodness. We might realize that more if we allowed quiet to take over every now and then. We worry too much about what doesn't matter--like pink walls and catty-corner furniture. We wall out reality with the barrage of noise and lights and confusion that we've come to expect in the Age of Electronics. And we don't consider how very lucky we are to have anything at all. Many people lack what they need; and others, much more sadly to my thinking, fail to appreciate the wonders around them--like napping in the sun with a cat as guide, like the surprising saltiness of crispy saltines, like neighborly kindness.
There is more than one aspect to healing. The body is more likely to become whole when the mind is clear and the heart is grateful
God is good. And every day shines bright with possibility.