What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Monday, June 14, 2010

Improbable Beauty

Smooch hiccups, over and over again, and stretches womb with toes as I sit, legs curled over ugly but comfy armchair, reading of Benjamin West and hairless cats to fingers that color and build fences at my feet and a husband takings glimpses of Seasons Past.

This chair, with her rustic country stripes accommodated legs thrown over the side while Baby Boo squirmed and wiggled seven years ago. I nursed Boo turned Rynnie Roo, fresh and new Mama, in wee hours of the morning and the chair sat in the teeny tiny house by the window of the teeny tiny living room and the moon whispered to me and the cows bawled.

It rocked as woman on husbands' lap, cried on shoulder when he lost his job. It helped desperate, scared man to console frightened new Mama when no words could reassure. We moved jobs and houses and we took the chair with us, Matt cursing its' huge bulk and I resolutely standing by it, we WILL be taking this ugly, wonderful chair. It rocked a womb baby Peanut turned Panda, in a new home-in a musty basement because it wouldn't fit anywhere else-but it lured me down there and there I would rock baby turned boy. It followed us again, to another home and forgave us for all its bumps and bruises along the way.

Baby Bunkin finally came, and not so fresh and new Mama had to compete with little arms and legs that would bound to it, sprawl out on it and rock it too hard. Still, it rocked...this time next to a warm vent that rises heat from the basement woodstove. Feet plant firmly on the floor because wood floor is warmed by woodstove down below. The seat cushion got a friendly smile, in the center, from where I sat sideways and it isn't quite as comfortable to sit "the right way" anymore. So, when floor is cold with summer, I throw my legs over the side as I have always done.

Mama, thrice, the chair is well worn by now. The arm has a slit where big girl and boy bums have listened to stories, leaving room for nursing babe turned squirming toddler. The chair fills up as children gather on my lap and on each arm and I think of Smoochs' hiccups and I think how this will be the only time a Mama and four children can squish into a chair, when fourth is but a belly baby. And only then, when Mama is squished to near oblivion by melting children.

I think of all the days I would look at plaid chair and dream about magazine living rooms and coordinated furniture. White. With some blue the color of robins eggs and always a fresh vase of pale pink peonies on the coffee table.

But Mamas who live among babies and dirty barefeet that trudge carrying eggs and calf grain don't buy white couches. Mamas who stay home while Papa works hard to make ends meet don't buy furniture from furniture stores at all, at least not this one....they pick things up off the side of the road or pluck them from yard sales and find beauty in the ugly. Find thanksgiving in the ordinary. Find comfort in the "being there".

I realize, this ugly plaid chair that matches nothing and sports smiles and slits in awkward places has turned beautiful to me. It occurs to me that the beauty of the thing lies not in its appearance, but its comfortable devotion and faithful BEING there.

My children think I am a beauty. They say it often. I look in the car mirror to finish my eyeliner before church and see a girl staring back at me, admiring. A little boy says I am pwetty and tells of his future blonde- haired wife.

Could the beauty of this ordinary, worn Mama of four be the same as the chair? Could my beauty lie in the comfort of presence? Of dependable shoulders to cry on and a voice that can be heard throughout the day? Is "quality time" enough for children or is the beauty in the quantity of time?

My chair rocks, faithfully, as it has since we moved it from bachelor "trailer-mansion" to newly married "little house" and it has been there as girl turns woman turns wife turns mother and still it rocks. And I find its beauty.

Will my children find mine?

Will my husband look at his gray-haired woman with saggy skin, wrinkles and fragile bones and find beauty in me as he remembers my constant faithfulness, devotion? Will I grace his memories with presence? Can I be beautiful even if the only magazine covers in my life are those on the bathroom floor, sandwiched between toilet paper and sink?

My life is more beautiful because of that ugly ripped, plaid chair. I hope that this tarnished woman can make the lives of these wonders of mine a bit more beautiful by the end.

Here I sit. Faithfully rocking.

I want so badly to be beautiful.

Finding bits of beautiful in my life, extraordinary bits of ordinary. Continuing my gratitude list......

  • a chair, who has rocked me with my babies, all of them
  • a home full of castoffs, humble beauty
  • mud reflections
  • scarred head of husband-all constant reminders of the beauty of his life.
  • feeling rough, thick fingers gently stroke
  • the only two rings I have, treasures
  • a weekend of safe travels
  • a reunion of friends
  • admiring gardens of all sorts
  • a farmer boy, who would rather help with chores than play with toys
  • dozens of children, all keeping one another occupied.
  • seeing a sweetling in person, wearing the dress *I* made for her.
  • snitching fresh pineapple
  • rain that pours only AFTER strawberry picking
  • stone houses at dusk
  • young women who are more wise than most grown women~I see in them, hope for the future. Here is one. Here is one. And one was celebrated this weekend past weekend.
  • handpicked rubies
  • the smell of honey in the air
  • muffins baking
  • the start of a new family read-aloud. Charlotte's Web, handpicked by Panda
  • matching red bandannas on matching golden locks

Gifts numbered
402 to 422 gratefully realized.

What are YOU thankful for????

holy experience


misslenbuster said...

beautiful picture of stone house at dusk! Also enjoyed seeing children interact and entertain themselves this weekend.

Karin Katherine said...

Beautiful images and notes of gratitude...

Bonnie said...

Sniffle sniffle.... and I meant that in a good way!

Lana said...

you are beautiful and your children are beautiful, and I eagerly await pictures of smooch :)

Chelsey said...

What beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing them with your heartfelt post. I love "Faithfully rocking".

...they call me mommy... said...

Oh Rebecca...how beautiful! :) I have a sister to your chair you know...except it is a strange green floral...bought at a thrift shop...so comfortable, actually perfectly shaped...lovely done in a puke green! :P What a great post!

Mud puddles, bandanas, strawberries, babies, & stone houses are some our favs around here too... *sigh*


Leah said...

It's funny, the things you notice in pictures when you're a mom. I love the "footed pajamas" your daughter is wearing. My kids have all worn them. My very first blog post ever shows my daughter in hers.
Also, I like the picture of your little Adele (I think) next to the mud puddle IN A DRESS.
I have a rocking chair that my husband bought for me right before we had our first child. I have memories with each of my five babies with me in that rocking chair in the middle of the night and the moonlight too.
I plan to keep that chair for a LONG time, and I pray that I can rock more babies in it too if God wills.

Father's Grace Ministries said...

A truly beautiful post, by a truly beautiful Mum.

Caroline Fenby said...

Hey Rebecca,
We had the best time with you all this past weekend! Thank yo for the photos you shared. And the blog about the rocking chair what and encouragement. You amaze me, i don't think anyone will forget you atleast i know i won't. I miss you guys. Caroline Fenby