One bright spot for me in these months has been our deck. Before the pandemic, we only used the deck once in a while for the occasional summer meal outside. It was always there, off the kitchen but unnoticed much of the time. This past year, I have come to truly enjoy this outside living space.
The deck overlooks the slope of our back yard and the wooded hill beyond. Through the woods, you can see the valley and the mountains in the distance. I’ve enjoyed taking my work out to the deck many, many times this past year. I could work in fresh, clean breezes. Birds chirped and sung from the trees. The sun was warm, and the umbrella offered just the right amount of shade. My husband and daughter would join me at lunchtime. The dogs often came out looking for chipmunks and deer in the yard below, or to nap under the table. I was part of countless Zoom meetings there. I chatted with my mom on the phone, filling her in on the birds and my day. The umbrella kept me dry in a summer shower once while I talked with a colleague who now lives many states away. One afternoon, I hosted a friend and her family for a socially-distanced lunch when they travelled through the area.
Every evening possible, my family ate dinner on the deck. Once the meal was over, we talked and enjoyed the view while the sun worked its way to the horizon. As darkness fell, we could watch the moths surround the lights or leave them off as the stars and moon come out. In warm months, we had an extra room for working, eating, and relaxing. The deck was always there, but this year gave us an opportunity to really make it part of our home.
For now, it is too cold to work or eat a meal on our deck. Sometimes I go out for a little while with the dogs to look out at the woods or at the stars. They still love to watch for animals in the yard. Soon spring will come, and I will again have the chance to feel the breezes while I work and share meals with my family in the evening sunshine. Being “stuck” in the house helped me discover my own little outside room that was there all the time.
“O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:1-5
The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.