Same Four Walls
Today is Friday. I haven’t left the house since Sunday morning when we went to church. Even then, I had to hang on tightly to my husband’s arm to make it across the icy walkway from the car to the back door of the fellowship hall. From there, after church we went for lunch at the local café on Main Street. Again, I squeezed his coat sleeve with each baby step across the patches of ice on the sidewalk. Once we were home, I settled into the couch, worked a crossword puzzle, watched football, and chatted with my kids on the phone.
Monday brought piano students to my living room, piles of laundry, a bit of paperwork, cooking dinner, and watching Hulu. Tuesday was more of the same. Except I did actually drive to the bank and back. From the safety of my attached garage, I backed out into the frigid, overcast morning and drove less than a mile to the drive-up window and then back through town, past the icy sidewalks on Main Street, back to my garage. I never set foot out of my car. The entire trip took about ten minutes.
On Wednesday, I was supposed to meet some friends for lunch at the same café on Main Street. But when I saw the snow flying around outside my window I chickened out. I texted my friend, “I think I’m going to stay put.” I really didn’t want to navigate across the ice from the handicap parking spot to the ramp in front of the café. I had noticed on my short excursion to the bank that there was an unavoidable patch of ice and crusty snow at the bottom of that ramp. My friend had offered to assist me, but her kind-heartedness was overshadowed by the dark thought of being painfully and embarrassingly sprawled out on the sidewalk for all of the townsfolk to witness.
She texted me back, “We’ll bring the food to you.” Thirty minutes later, my friends arrived bundled up in hats, coats, and scarves, bringing with them the delicious scent of garlic mayo and bacon. It was a lovely lunch in my dining room, complete with cups of tea and good conversation, and as we hugged goodbye in my front hall, they both agreed that this had been a nicer atmosphere anyway.
I do have to admit that I love my house. It is cheery and tidy, and thanks to my friendly once-a-week housekeeper, Lisa, it is very clean. But for me, (sigh) it’s the same four walls.
I’m certainly not bored. This week twenty different piano students have come through my front door and giggled with me at the piano one at a time. I have spent a few hours choosing worship songs for this Sunday’s service, and I typed up the bulletin. I have ridden my exercise bike and sorted through sheet music. I have folded laundry, answered emails, and organized a drawer or two.
But I pine for the days when I will be outside again — planting pansies in pots on my back porch, or kneeling in my garden, burying seeds in the soil with the sun in my hair. Today, the nearest thing to that is the amaryllis bulb on my dining room table with a hopeful, barely visible, green sliver just starting to appear.
I long for spring. I long for freedom. For the days when I will not have to worry about icy sidewalks and muscles that seize up in the single-digit temperatures.
So let’s take this one step further. I long for healing. I long for the day when Christ will return and the whole earth will be renewed. A “spring,” if you will, in the most complete and perfect way.
I think this was the idea Paul was trying to get across in Romans chapter 8:
“For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODIES. For in this hope we were saved.” (emphasis mine)
All of creation is longing for “spring” — that day when Jesus will return and make everything new. Revelation 21 describes the new heaven and the new earth where there is no more death, no more mourning, no more crying, no more pain. Everything will be made right. Including our bodies.
No more fear of falling on the ice. If there is ice. Because my body will be redeemed — “liberated from its bondage to decay” and brought into freedom and glory. Perhaps I will dance on the ice like Michelle Kwan.
But for now, as Paul says, I am groaning inwardly as I wait. Inside my house. Same four walls. Same feeble body. Until spring.