As I type these words, I am sitting in a room in my house I have not sat in for months. Yet, it is the one room in this house that sold me on my future abode when the realtor showed it to us. I sat on the sofa, looking out the window, taking in the Cape Cod charm. And I knew, this was a house with a heart that matched mine.
Far from a mansion, my house is worn, with plenty of nooks and crannies. The walls could tell stories that would fascinate, I am sure. The issue is, I have not had time to listen.
It hit me, as I sat here–readying to read a book on my last day of all-too-short holiday break—unused rooms are trying to tell us something.
This room, for instance, is supposed to be my living room. What does it mean that I’ve been months without sitting in it? Not enough living going on, I guess. The office? Seems I am always there. The master bathtub gets plenty of use as an antidote to the office. And the kitchen—well, with two boys, the kitchen and laundry room always seem to be in use.
But the one room in the house that is built for peace, for quiet—for a good book punctuated only by the sound of the grandfather clock—sits neglected.
After a brief hiatus from emails, blogging, social media and days designed around conference calls not of my scheduling, I feel a peace and sanity coming on. Rarely do I allow myself the pleasure of sitting with a good book. My mind generally jumps to the thousand things I should be doing—ordering those holiday address labels, cancelling an upcoming test for my son, shopping for tomorrow’s dinner, checking on work emails I am sure have piled up.
But, just for this afternoon, I say no to all of that. I wonder which powers that be decided we should work as much as we do. Because no afternoon of work is half as restorative as the lunch and chocolate fondue I shared with my son today. His lithe mind tumbled from one thing to the next—literary paradoxes were the conundrum of the day for him.
And now, sitting in this room with my tea and my book, I feel I am giving myself a gift beyond measure. I think of a friend who, after battling cancer, created a room for herself to write. I remember her choosing things to place in that room with great care.
Virginia Woolf comes to mind: “A woman must have money and a room of her own . . . “ Oh, Virginia, you were right about the order of things in that statement. Now, if only I did not have to work as many hours for the money, which keeps me from enjoying this room. Yet, if I did not work so many hours, this room—this house–would no longer be mine.
I guess my son’s talk of paradoxes was apropos today. I think the Universe is whispering in my ear. I just wish it would speak more plainly.
Wishing you a holiday season of living in all the rooms in your house—especially the ones that bring you the most joy. Light a fire in the fireplace, put the kettle to boil and grab a book (you know the one–it’s been sitting on your bedside table for months, begging to be read).
I’ll be joining you as often as I can.