Some time ago I had to move. I thought long and hard about what my ideal house would look like. I saw many – learning all the time about what questions to ask; neighbourhoods; roof tiles; and plumbing. The first house I saw was in a beautiful complex. I remember saying to my companion that I would love to live in a place like this. The last house I saw, fifty homes later, was in the same complex – across the road from the first. It was as if I had known all along that this was the place God had chosen for me. Here is a little cameo of my home.
I saw fifty homes when I was searching. Forty nine of them were not quite right – or very wrong. Too big, too small, too isolated, too crowded. One had a concrete garden – completely tiled, with brick walls; others had swimming pools which required care; one or two were in blocks of flats where neighbours were making lots of noise. Some were lovely but not convenient for work or family. One or two felt uncomfortable, as if things had occurred in them that left a bad taste in the mouth and a creepy feeling on the skin. I am sensitive to atmosphere and I rapidly left these few, without seeing the whole house.
I was looking for something special. I did not know exactly where, or even exactly what I needed. But I had prayed and spent a long time making a list of ‘nice to haves’. I wanted a place to write where I could look out of a window to a pretty garden or lovely view. I wanted security, and a place I could maintain with little help. I was looking for enough space to move from one part of the house to another without being cramped. I hoped for peace and beauty – a haven in fact where I could kick my shoes off, shut the door, and put the world aside for a while.
On the day when I saw my fiftieth house I drove through the gates of the walled complex and, deep inside my soul, I heard the Holy Spirit say:
As I drove around the curves of the road, the pretty homes delighted me. Gardens were well tended and colourful. The houses were neat and open to the road. Just before the corner at the bottom of the hill, white roses bloomed against a bright cerise bougainvillea. As I pulled up outside, the scent of jasmine filled the air, and the bright flowers contrasted with an apricot rose that climbed the wall at the front door.
I walked down the drive, in awe of the feeling in my heart. I knew, before I stepped inside, that this was the home for which I had been searching. This was the place God had chosen for me. Apart from a neighbour I was the first to arrive. I spent a long time there that afternoon. I contacted both son and daughter and they came – and agreed with me. This was my home. My offer was accepted and I moved in sometime later.
I have lived here now for almost four years; and my home has become my haven. I have peace here. There is beauty and security. And the view?
I have two views from my study windows.
One looks out to the front of the house, past the jasmine and the apricot coloured rose to the road when I can see neighbours walk their dogs and children cycling in the afternoons.
The other window looks onto the garden which is sheltered by two of my favourite trees – a silver birch and a Chinese maple. The dappled shade they give is appealing and gives shelter from the heat of the sun for most of the day. So I have fuschia in pots, hydrangeas, snowdrops and violets. But there are also strelitzia – yellow ones – which light up the shadows, and a fern tree and aloes. A small orchid clings to the trunk of the maple, its roots spread and burrowing through the bark for sustenance. The minute brick patio extends to the lawn and is home to a round table and two chairs that invite the observer to sit in the shade and just be. Birds fly in and out at will, drinking at the bird bath and splashing in its coolness in the heat of the day
This is my view. It is not earth shatteringly beautiful. It is not breath-taking or expansive. But it is home, and it is my inspiration. For, you see, it is God-given and, in its simplicity it is all I need.