Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Holding On To Hope

All those years ago, when we closed on this old house, the mayor and his wife laughingly told us that it was large enough to raise five children. 
That is exactly what they had done here. 
 However, after 35 or 40 years of calling this place home,  they were ready to downsize and move to the next phase of life. 
  Before we left the office where the closing took place, the mayor's wife walked over close to me and with passion in her voice quietly said,
 "Here, I brought this photo to you.  I want you to have it.  This is what the row of homes looked like when they were new.  I have always wanted to replace the porch to the way it looks in this picture.  But we never did.  You need the picture now.  When the builders removed the porch they saved all the pieces and put them in the carriage house." 
With those kind words, the photo and the dream became mine, the dream for "A Romantic Porch".
"Ha!" I thought, "I will NEVER live in that house for 35 or 40 years without a front porch."
But life happened, yes twenty two years of life, to be exact. 
 In the shadow, of the 18 month old toddler that we held on our hip those years ago, grew two more children. 
There were times I wondered if the old house was large enough to hold the laughter, the noise, the joy, the sorrow, the tears and frustration; but it has been, because it's home.
It is home with its old creaky floors and drafty windows and doors that close and doors that don't.  It is home with odd shaped closets and obscure hiding places.  It is home with peeling paint and snagged siding.  It has stood the test of time for well over a century now, weathering seasons of sunshine and cold, seasons of uncertainty, seasons of want, and I suppose seasons of plenty. This old house has weathered those seasons with strength and grace as time rolls along. 
 The only thing certain is that there will always be change. 
 Fortunately, it's a solid old house built on a strong foundation. 
Throughout life I have wondered why some people became grouchy as they age.  I can't help but wonder what causes a person to become cynical and sarcastic?
Eh? Yeah, what causes them to be grumpy and snide?
Everywhere you turn, people are weathering storms in life. 
 We have.
  I'm sure you have also. 
 I think every single person has a story, whether they tell it or not.  AND I also think that every single person has a choice in how they respond to their story. 
I believe there is a fine line between human resilience and complete and utter despair. 
  Some people seem to bounce back with strength and dignity from the hard fisted blows of life. 
 Others seem to cower to the hard times, losing their spirit and joy.  As the blows keep coming their heart seems to grow harder.
I realize that bouncing back in strong resilience becomes more difficult when you are dealt one hard hit right after the other. 
There is no time to catch a breather; certainly no time to regroup and gain a new perspective. 
Hard times have a strange way of making a person feel isolated.  In that type of darkness it is easy to feel all alone, as though no one cares or understands. 
The longer I live, the more I want to fight against these tendencies that lead toward a hard and calloused heart.  I don't want to become cynical with deep groves of sarcasm etching who I am.
  I want to be able to bounce back.
I may be bruised and battle scarred, but I want to be able to link arms with others and show them the way toward courage and joy, even when I'm searching for it with all my being.
  I may be shaken. 
 I may moan and sway to the punches that come my way,
but I have chosen to build my life on a Strong Foundation. 
 It's a Foundation on which I can weather life's storms.
That doesn't mean the pain will be gone, or the hard times replaced with easy ones.
But it does mean I'm never alone.
It means I'm all in...
...with Someone who cares.
And I'm still holding out hope for that replacement of 
 "A Romantic Porch".

P.S. My long term goal of having the front porch restored to this old house, is the basis for the name of my blog.
After more than five years of blogging... now you know!


Judy said...

What a nice post Rachel. It got me to thinking of all the things that have happened in my life. It is hard not to head down the path toward a hard and calloused heart when things happen in our life, and I would say lucky for me, but I'm not sure if you would call it luck, or just a strong faith that helped me to not go down that path :)
I love that old photo and the porches. I can see why you want to replace it.

Donna Lynn said...

Just beautiful Rachel, something I needed to hear this morning,sitting here watching the rain fall...again...and wishing for a bit of sunshine. Now I realize, the rain, it is fine! Into ours lives falls rain, and sunshine days, it i OK!
Love your heart, and I am believing with you for that porch!

Donnie said...

Rachel, WOW, what a message we all need to think on more and more often. I too love porches and hope with you that you can accomplish your goal of it being back on.
Have a wonderful day of dreaming!

Art and Sand said...

I'm pulling for you and your porch.

Our former home would have been perfect for a porch, but like your mayor, we downsized - to a little cottage. It isn't prefect, it is tiny, it has few closets, but I am an optimist and always look for the best.

I wish you the best.

Willow said...

Rachel I loved the message you have posted of keeping your heart open while embracing resilience !