Oh the Depth

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! Romans 11:33

The couch in the living room is old
Shaped to my body
After all these years
Sometimes that is good
But sometimes
When it sags
Just here
Under my left hip
I hurt

The sky is light blue
Framed by leaves
As I lie on the couch
Looking up and out
Through the picture widow
To the left, red maple
To the right, glistening magnolia
Ahead, smaller golden green dogwood
Peaceful today
And I am grateful, in quiet awe

(But sometimes
I lie here wrapped
Inside myself
And see nothing
But mistakes and misery)

My living room has warm
Café au lait walls
Painted by a friend
A decade and more ago

A bouquet of zinnias
Painted by another friend
Hangs on one wall
Above the old library table that holds
My mother’s silverware chest

On another wall, a quartet
Of paintings by a local artist
Of some renown
Husband of another friend
Hangs above the sideboard
With its miscellany of objects
Birthday present to be mailed to a grandchild
Stockings to be returned for Mom
A couple of bowls
A few things from the home that my husband shared with his wife, Ruth
Ten years dead and today is her birthday

My collection of icons
One rescued from my mother’s garage
When she sold her home
Too old at 92 to continue alone
Hangs above the smaller sideboard, made by my husband,
The one whose drawers and cupboard hide the grandchildren’s toys

Ah, the fireplace mantle
Small antique vases from France
A skier resting on a log – gift from my skiing and climbing partner
All those years ago in Canada
A tiny beautiful reclining full-bodied woman in bronze
Purchased from a Cotswald artisan
In the village on the bicycle route
The slender Italian marble vase
Gift from friends sharing their trip to Italy
Below the mantle, in front of the unused fireplace,
The natural edge table my husband made
Holds the carved wooden rhino from South Africa
Summers working at the University of Venda
In Thohoyandou, with red dust and monkeys

A small silver wrapped horn from ancient Mogador
Bought at the music stand of the small round man
With the big smile and little English
In Essaouira’s souk
Hangs on the wall in the small space
Between the fireplace and the dining room’s arched entrance

I turn to the wall behind me
A bookcase fashioned by my husband to snuggle into this space
Holds carefully painted duck decoys from his trip to China
And one whimsically painted by our zinnia friend
My cookbooks
And pottery vases from friends

My grandmother’s glass-fronted china closet
One of her wedding gifts
A hundred and more years ago
Stands bracketed by my mother’s marble topped tables
A picture of an African mother nursing her child
Gift from another friend
And a small oil painting in the style of Turner
Reminder of my years in England

My mother’s favorite chair

On the couch wall, next to the picture window
The small picture with verses of The Apple Tree
Lovingly made and framed by the now grown daughter
Of a good friend
So many years and tears ago
I asked her daughter, then a young teenager,
To sing at my husband’s funeral
Below it hangs
The small painting of this house
As it was when I bought it
Given to me by my real estate agent
But the real treasure I added
The note from the seven year old son of the previous owner
Asking me to love the house and please be careful
Of the ground under the Japanese maple in the backyard
Where his cat is buried

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and history in this one room!

Grant, dear God, that I may know you as well
Rest in you as comfortably
Shelter in you as securely
Feel such quiet joy in your presence

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