Tis a gift to be simple….tis a gift to be free, tis a gift to come down where we ought to be,” says the classic Shaker hymn.
The Preacher and I have lived in numerous homes in our almost-35-year marriage. In each, it’s taken awhile to settle the furniture.
Furniture, like people, needs a bit of wrestling before it “comes down where it ought to be.” (Especially if seeing the same sofa against the same wall under the same mirror for more than a few months irritates a particular family member. Me.)
Over the years I’ve put almost as many miles on our furniture as on our car. It drives the Preacher crazy. Unlike me, he doesn’t mind if the same sofa sits against the same wall under the same mirror—for years.
“Now the real fun begins,” I said, one Saturday after completing a passel of household tasks.
The Preacher recognized the symptoms. I could see his eyeballs rotating clear through the back of his head. “Rearranging the furniture,” he sighed, and began muttering.
Grunting, I shoved the couch from under the mirror into the end of our open area, trading places with his recliner. “That’ll make a bit of a divider.”
He shook his head. “It’ll block traffic. And I won’t be able to see the television.”
I moved a table and angled the couch.
“That’s great! Now our front-door-guests can hop over the back of it.”
Huffing, I put the couch under the window, the recliner back where it had been, and the chairs where the couch had been first. “That makes the room too narrow,” I complained.
“Let’s just live with it awhile,” the Preacher said, in a pleading sort of way.
I’ve since realized my decorating problem. When we first moved to Hope House, sixteen months ago, by some fluke I put our living room furniture into its prime location. Our traffic flowed in convenient patterns. The sun hit exactly where it ought, each chair sat just right for conversation, and the side tables snuggled perfectly in place. The Preacher’s recliner gave him a great view of the TV, and the piano fit best on the only inside wall—exactly where pianos belong.
On top of all that—no furniture blocked registers, and reaching for the drapery chords didn’t mean risking a chiropractic appointment.
My furniture had already “come down where it ought to be.” One day I’ll put it back there—and it will seem a gift.
In the matter of faith, like decorating, it takes some shuffling of spiritual furniture before things “come down where they ought to be.” But I’ve noticed that people with the courage to wrestle with God usually end up with more spiritual depth than those who seem to have every piece of their faith-furniture in place.
Here’s why, I think: The depth of our intimacy with God, is, paradoxically, in direct proportion to our honest wrestling with God.
Want to “come down where you ought to be?” Wrestle.
Intriqued? Here’s a helpful blog entry about what it means to wrestle God in prayer by Barbara Lardinais (Hannah’s Cupboard blogsite):