Friday, July 13, 2018

The Search for Heart and Home Begins Inside

There is a fan running in the guest room next to me, drying the drywall put around the new closet we had built in there for my mother's clothing overflow.
There are roofers pounding on the roof outside my office window.
My husband is mowing the lawn.
So we're making the house look good on the inside and the outside.

Yet these are just minor adjustments. The shingles were old and curling up; the closet gets rid of my mother's stacks of plastic bins and tidies up my guest room; the lawn looks nice mowed but I've always thought it would be nice to have sheep to keep the lawns short.
It wouldn't bother me in the least to have sheep poop all over my yard.

When I saw this graphic online this morning, my first response was - "This is how my life in rural Nova Scotia makes me feel." It makes me feel good on the inside. It makes me feel like I am truly home. And more importantly, it makes my heart content.
I don't worry about having a clean house or weed-free gardens. I don't care that I no longer have my own car, let alone a new one. We don't go out for dinner much or even get the movies like we used to. Our last trip out of the country was six years ago. I wear big rubber boots as often as fancy shiny shoes -- although both seem to end up with chicken poop on the soles.
I admit I have too much stuff; too many knick knacks, too many collections, too many clothes and shoes, perhaps even too many books (what?!). There's a lot of clutter in my house, and especially in my office, but my husband says it makes the place looked lived in and that makes him feel like he's home, and he's fine with it, so I'm not worrying about the clutter either. Not yet, anyway. Perhaps when I'm a really famous author, I can auction my collections and my knick knacks off for charity. Someone might want Sara Jewell's chicken collection.

And that's my one inside struggle: doing more for others. Doing for others rather than doing for myself. I've always felt this pull to share my good fortune, to use my skills to make life better for others, but I have yet to discover what I'm being pulled towards. Nothing sticks. I'll keep searching.

It's a shame how many people think that appearances matter above all else. That the right house and the right vehicle, the fancy vacations and the shiny jewelry are the paths to peace of mind and a satisfied heart. Stuff is not the solution; I have a lot of stuff and it doesn't make me happy. In fact, it drives me crazy with its uselessness, with its wastefulness.
What makes me happy, what satisfies my craving for home and contentment and belonging is looking out the window at the field, at the chicken coop, at a plate full of home-cooked food, at my husband's tanned and lined face, and feeling so lucky and grateful, my heart could burst.
Gratitude. Deep and abiding thankfulness for the life you're living. That only happens inside you.

I once knew a woman who was constantly redecorating her living room and bedroom, trying to find happiness, trying to find peace and joy in her life. She was rotten on the inside -- selfish and manipulative -- so no matter what her new furniture looked like or the colour of the new paint on the walls, she wasn't going to be content. Her search continues, I'm sure.

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