Sitting here thinking about how good it is to have friends who are significantly younger than I am. It changes my perspective on things. It makes me reflect on what I could be doing differently. And it means there will be someone to actually attend my funeral.
Looking at the new starts of my son, his friends, and the kids of my dear friends, I think back over 30+ years of marriage and contemplate the lessons that God teaches us over time. I see areas that I wish I had taken better care of over the years. I see big stretches where God's grace alone kept us going (and here we thought it was US!). And I even see lots of things that we did right. Thanks be to God.
The one thing that I have learned--scratch that, that I'm STILL learning--is that it is important to appreciate and care for what you have right now, not when you have a "nicer house" or "better things". In going through some of the pictures that my mom had stored away, I came across some pictures of my Mama Warren and Pop's house. This was a house that radiates peace in my memories. I loved it there. I thought it was beautiful.
When I looked at the pictures, I was taken by how spare it was in reality. They didn't own a lot of stuff. It was so plain. But to my eyes, and soul, as a child, it was beautiful.
And then it hit me what it was about the house. It was clean. It was orderly. It was taken care of. And that order brought peace, calm and restfulness.
That is something that I've never been particularly good at. My mom, as beautiful, talented, gifted and loving as she was, wasn't good at it either. And it is a habit of being that I wish I had cultivated much earlier in my life. I wish that my home had been more of a sanctuary and less of a train station.
Look, I know that some families thrive on movement and chaos and activity. And it bothers them not at all that their home is disorganized and crazy. But it has always bothered me. I don't want to replace my memories with memories of a perfectly cared for home. But I wish I had developed the habits early on that would have made it better.
Sometimes I think that we won't get those better things we long for until we prove that we can take care of what we've got. What's the point of nicer things, if you don't develop the habit of taking care of what you have now? When the nicer things come, you'll be tempted to either not use them (and keep them "for nice") or you'll treat them the same way that you treated everything you had before, and they'll soon be not so nice.
My grandmother's stuff was not expensive, but it was all taken care of well. She owned nothing that wasn't used.
Still all these years into a common life, I struggle with this. I am still in the process of sanctuary making.
I just wish I had started earlier. Because by now, maybe even a few of my grandmother's habits would have been established in me. And I want to (only when asked, only when asked!) encourage that in my young friends.