It is a good morning for dreams. Rain and thunder and lightning. Earl Grey tea. A fire skillfully built -- how can he coax flame from wet wood?
It was he, the fire-maker, the one patient one who waits for flickers and sparks, who suggested it.
"Remember Mary?" he said. "The lady who made our rehearsal dinner?"
I remember Mary.
He looked up from his Facebook feed. "She's having her Cluttered Cottage sale. Do you wanna go? 8 on Friday morning."
Antiques and vintage were not his first language, but this man, he has studied to learn the foreign that speaks to his wife's heart.
So we wake up early (another measure of love) and carry coffee to the car, layered as if it were November and not April. The road winds. Trees outnumber houses. A right turn on H, a left turn on EE. Black cows, fat with calves unborn, munch next to wire strung taut.
So much beauty, so close to our daily grind, yet who remembers trees and hills and hand-lettered signs for farm fresh eggs in the midst of all the crazy days?
Sometimes it is all we need: a different angle. An unfamiliar perspective.
To rouse up the dead.
To awaken to life.
One last turn onto gravel, and Mary, she is the image I recall, rosy cheeks, everlasting smile.
The Cluttered Cottage is a work of art, a canvas painted by this woman with Midas hands. Trash turned to gold, hung from rafters, arranged on platters.
It is lovely.
Mary is lovely.
We forgot our money, and all Aaron carries is two dollars. I am disppointed, but I wander the four rooms and realize it is good, this forced role change. From to consumer to observer. The lust to acquire falls from a shout to silence.
I am drawn to one thing in particular. A vintage mountain lithograph perched high on a cracked window frame.
"How much?" I hope she doesn't say three dollars.
"Oh 50 cents," she beams as I take it down. "I don't do this for the money. I do it for the fun."
And I can tell she truly means it. The cottage, with cracked plaster and fading floors, is transformed by her warmth. She does this for fun. She does it for love.
We drive back home, and I clutch the picture.
"Do you think we'll ever live in the country?" I wistfully ask Aaron. "I feel like following Jesus means we can never live in the country."
He smiles. He is used to the melodrama I weave into many thoughts. "Maybe following Jesus will mean moving to the country."
I murmur to my heart, as we glide back into town, the truth I know. The truth I saw shining in Mary this morning. It's not about the country or the city.
It's about this beauty, the beauty of a risen Christ, being manifest in every part of my life. It's about living full, taking others by the hand, running with them to the fountain I know is always fresh, always clean, always cold.
My heart throbs with life. My insides jump up in hope, and I volunteer again for this mystery, this comedy, this drama. This life.
And this I believe: the Giver of Dreams, He writes a good script.