As a child I moved a lot with my parents, and so lived in all kinds of different houses. When we arrived as a family they were just houses, but a particular gift my mother had was to be able to make a house into a home, a place which was familiar, safe and warm. Once these two jugs were unpacked, they were symbolic of the fact that I had ‘come home’, that the new strange house I occupied was now mine. As you can see, I have kept them as a sentimental memory of my childhood.
The much anticipated visit of my friend Helen from the UK a couple of weeks ago was the incentive I needed to make my flat into a home. So there was a flurry of activity making curtains and blinds (with a great deal of help from Isabel who lives upstairs!) putting pictures in the right place, and just generally doing all the bits and pieces which I’d been promising myself for weeks that I would do to make the place feel ‘mine’. I finished everything just in time for her arrival!
The effect on me of this process of creating a home has taken me by surprise. I hesitate to make the comparison, but the phrase that has kept coming to mind is the one which describes how God felt when he had created the world, as recorded in the Bible in Genesis 1:31, ‘God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.’ Looking round I’m happy and satisfied with what I’ve created. As I sit and relax and survey my surroundings it all feels ‘very good’ to me.
I’ve found myself comparing the sense of peace and harmony produced by my physical surroundings to my inner, spiritual, life. A long, long time ago I was told by a wise old lady (possibly the same age as I am now, come to think of it!) that I needed to learn the secret of ‘Abiding’ (John 15:4). I am still trying to learn it. Maybe part of the secret is in recognising that, in spite of all my imperfections and restlessness, I can ‘abide’ in the fact that God sees what he has made, and that in His eyes it is ‘very good’!
What a great time I had with Helen. She too helped to transform my flat into a home, as we shared together the fruits of a God-given friendship that has lasted over 40 years.