I love my high-ceilinged office downtown, where phones ring and faxes buzz. Where people drop in to discuss big, troubling issues. Sometimes, to my amazement, God lets me make a difference there. But I cherish time spent at home. Small is good there. The people who drop in, most often grandbeans, don’t wear masks of confidence or cloaks of meticulously spun cynicism.
I can imagine big things at home. That most people are honest and kind, not mostly kind-of-honest. That the streets are safer than the news reports, for starters. That we were meant for joy.
Last evening, I sat on our living room floor watching His Grace, our recently acquired half-grown feline, in his evening wild mood. He batted like a creature bedeviled at every moving thing. My hand, the toy mouse, the swaying fringe on a nearby afghan. A belled ball, a shoelace, and a husband (who utterly ignored him). Then he leapt on top of the piano (avoiding the D minor augmented chord he usually plays mid-leap) and onto the clock cabinet. From there he sailed over the couch and onto another clock cabinet, pausing barely long enough to swat a plant leaf before launching his tiger-striped body onto the table under the window, and finally back at me.
You can’t play with cats at work. At least not where I work. Cats are home things. Having a cat again has reminded me how much unused laughter sits in us, the Preacher and I. Guffaws hidden by life’s serious side and many responsibilities. Oh, we laugh often—our grandbeans see to that. But the stuff of carefree delight, the chortles reserved especially for the antics of small young animals—that type of laughter got buried when we lost our last cat and put down our last dog years ago. (A parrot isn’t the same, somehow. Far too cunning. He laughs at us instead.)
After a day at the office, where I don (like a uniform) professional sober thoughts of big issues I don’t understand (but pretend to and get away with it), I love coming home to life’s true and simplest pleasures. Quiet time with my Lord. A home-cooked meal. Laughter. A visiting grandbean or several. To a tinkle on the piano, a spat of house or yardwork, or a walk around the block. A chat with a neighbor or a texting session or phone call to my B.C. family.
Rich blessings abound in all of life; but the small true things of home, so easily bypassed in the press of chasing a paycheque; those must never be neglected, even for the best of reasons. And so, whenever possible, I go—and stay—home. Talk to my husband. Romp with the grandbeans. Tease His Grace. Laugh long and hug whoever’s available; thankful for the reminder that home, of all spaces, is a place most blessed. If you have one—and so many in our world don’t—don’t neglect the gifts God wants to give you there.