‘Thank you’ is enough
The coldest room in the house is the living room. It’s right off the entry way, so when people come in and out, the cold air finds its way inside and hovers over the couches and chairs.
But even though it’s the coldest room, I have discovered a great source of warmth within its walls.
My husband and I live in an Intentional Christian Community House. The community is made up of 11 people, nine adults and two children. We live in a 100-year old house – Rosewood Manner.
This community has existed for nearly 10 years, and as people come and go throughout life’s changes and journeys, some of us have chosen to journey together.
We share resources; we put money into a common fund for food and bills for the house. We cook meals together once a week, and when we can, we spend time together – playing games, working in the garden, trying to collect eggs from the chickens, and simply enjoying conversations.
One Friday evening, just as the weather started to creep down toward the 34 degree mark, we noticed the rooms getting colder and colder. Upon further investigation, we discovered we weren’t getting any heat – the boiler was broken.
Being the good timing of the weekend, we were unable to secure the necessary parts to fix the boiler. But, we have a fireplace. And wood. So, we started a fire.
Saturday and Sunday whenever people were free – or too cold to stay in their rooms – we found each other and began without much direction to chop and sort branches and logs for the fire.
Someone would put on the kettle for tea or coffee, and another would start piling logs on the fire and keep it going. We pulled the couches in close the fireplace and piled on the blankets.
It started out as a joke, a sort of “this too shall pass” and we just plugged along. But once Sunday turned to Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday, we seemed to have a routine down.
Space heaters plugged in and fire still going. An unwritten schedule to stoke the fire and bring in more logs seemed to hum along.
We even stopped eating dinner at the table and instead have taken to pulling the couches closer to the fire and enjoying our meals next to the crackling logs.
Last week we were brainstorming ideas as a community for ways we can “bump into” each other more throughout the week. With different schedules and availabilities, we decided we should think about investing in a TV in the den so we could have a reason to run into each other and spend time together.
But as I was sitting and eating dinner last night in front of the fire, I realized we hadn’t even gone into the den since the TV appeared. We were too busy talking about where we all were one year ago, what changes had taken place, and what has brought us to this point in time.
Some of us expressed what a difficult week we’d been having, either because of work, school, or family situations, and the comfort of the fire warmed us little by little, as did the presence of others in the community.
I don’t think I can say I’m thankful the heat went out last Friday. But within the coldest walls of the house, I found the warmest heart of the home. Sometimes, the warmth, companionship and connection we find with others can open the door for us to connect with ourselves.
Sometimes when the heat goes out, we can rush to get it fixed and get things back to normal. Other times, it’s the delaying of the normal routine that allows us to see things in a new light.
Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘Thank you,’ it will be enough.”
In this season of rushing and racing and running in circles, of turkey and eggnog and pumpkin pie, of lights and trees and instant gratification, of mixed messages, of lonely hearts – may we search for those small moments to slow down, to put a log on the fire, and enjoy the company of those seated around us.
And in whatever way we can express, with words or songs or gifts or silence, may we learn to say “Thank you” from the heart and with love.