Each day at the Brick House I look forward to sitting on the porch in the evenings.
I’ve spent many hours on this porch so far, both alone and together with my housemates. It’s an idyllic porch, with five chairs and string lights, a solid, flat concrete surface and a sturdy overhead covering. I imagine this will continue to be a place of conversations and laughter, of quiet contemplation and random aloud-blurbs of news and quotes from the papers and books we read. It will be a space for hugs and welcomes, tears and a sense of belonging. This porch is a place of gathering and richness, of refreshment and a place of new perspective as we learn to live differently and more intentionally in the coming year.
In my times alone on the porch, I have found it to be a place of peaceful solidarity, looking out to the cornfields and other small homes that line the quiet, peaceful street. I’ve found hope and healing through contemplation in this space, reading and listening to God’s words that encourage and uplift, protruding deep into my soul as they replenish the cracks and brokenness from the past year. I’m learning to dream wider dreams on this porch, reflecting on the moments that have made me feel alive and allowing my newfound passions to propel me into doing the work I love. I’ve reflected on my weeks in the classroom, thinking up lesson plans and trying to conjure the names of the many students in my mind, visualizing the seating plans I’ve stared at so many times. The porch has been my space to navigate a new stage of my prayer life, making my way past the distractions and trying to focus on truly being alone with the Lord, allowing His presence to seep into my mind and soul as I truly relax and let go of the day.
And together, I have found this space to be one of laughter and of pure conversation, gathered around an old barrel with a citronella candle lit and tea warming our hands. The string lights twinkle against the dusk-filled sky as we tell stories from years past and uncertainly voice our hopes for the next year. This simple space of concrete and posts has become a beautiful place of gathering, filling my heart and soul with words and giggles and nods that have proved the simple, in-between moments build my life to where I want it to be, one of meaning and purpose in my everyday spaces. Each time on our porch we connect just a little more, nudging towards a deeper understanding of each other’s struggles and hopes and deeply beautiful qualities.
From this porch, I have gleaned the benefits inside and out. Inside my soul, I have found fulfillment in the peaceful solidarity I’ve learned to dwell in. And on the outside, I have found fulfillment in the fellowship I experience with my friends, being present in the conversations I enter into and experiencing a deep sense of belonging and meaning. I’m learning to find fulfillment in the simple moments this year, finding richness in my life through reflection, prayer, and lots of conversations. My heart settles down in these moments, finding peace and contentment in this new place and with these familiar people. I’m thankful for another space I can call home, one where I can wrestle and learn and be refined by words and people I love dearly.