A Room to Myself

The first cold snap of autumn came this weekend, making me glad to come indoors. Today there is rain, and although not very cold outside,  I am glad to be in this room. I am more than glad. I am giddy with pleasure, more than a standard issue hotel room deserves.

The room is… adequate. It is beige. It has a bathroom. Towels. A generous number of pillows. A desk. A comfortable chair.
As I arrived, I was like my chidren are when scoping out one of the many hotel rooms where we have stayed as a family. They bounce from one bed to another before staking their claim. They sniff the soaps and shampoos in the bathroom, turn the lights on and off, look out the windows, spin the chair at the desk, turn the television on and off, open the drawers. My son looks under the bed whenever he comes into a hotel room now. Once, when he was at a tender age,  a pair of hot pink bikini panties hid under the bed, waiting for his shoes to tuck under and hijack their way out in view of God and everyone. Even his mother. He turned as pink as the panties, but we have laughed about it ever since. He checks under beds now.
Sometimes it is what is not here that inspires a thrill in me.
I drop the world back home like dropping my coat carelessly to the floor. I sit on the edge of the bed ad immediaately pry off my shoes. Some worries take a little more effort to extract. I love my life with my back home, my little country church with red doors, the welcome and good mornings my energetic Australian shepherds never fail to deliver, every,single, time.

What the room does not have: no doghair,  no pileses of laundry waiting to be washed, dried and hung, no mailbox to deliver bills or unwelcome news,  no screeching girl anime, no one to remind and nag, no notes on the refrigerator to remind me of all I have forgotten.  The bathroom doesn’t need to be remodeled and I am not watching painfully to spot my daughter as she struggles up the stairs, no lingering in the vicinity of the bathoom and her bedroom listening for sounds of a fall, or entrapment. She is eleven. She has congenital musular dystrophy. She will live. We accept the rest as the price of admission. Anything less would be ingratitude.
The room has wide open space. This space I can fill with …emptiiness. What is tiny, unkempt, and often ignored and overpowered by the Richness of it All will find room here.
Shhhhh….the patient mother waits until the child has worn the new off. Evverything now in its place, the coat properly hung, the room invites. Sit down girl, and fill the emptiness with stories that are weary of waiting their turn.
Winter will come soon enough. Snow will blanket the weeds that overan my flowerbeds in August. It’s white cover will mercifully conceal the spots where the dogs run the fence. Enough snow and the world will grow queit, reveling in the sudden gift of a snow day. The leaves will have flamed out and either been raked and consumed by the vacuum of the city leaf picker upper….or return obediently to to rot and decay in my compost pile.  Their rich humousy goodness will blanket my garden in the spring.  Emptiness is not nothingness, only pregnant space.
The room entices me. Beckons me. There is room here for that still, small, voice to become audible. For that tiny umkempt being to come out in the open. Life will beckon me back, and I will pick up its pieces like clothing carelessly drpped on the floor. I will “tut tut” the whole while and chastise that undisciplined child under my breath. Secretly, l giggle with delight for finding her.


About Pastor Betsy Williams

I am a mom. And a wife. And a Friend. And a homeowner. And a dog ...uh....owner? Actually make that two dogs. Two kids. One husband. I'm an ELCA Lutheran pastor of a beautiful downtown church. I am the third senior pastor in a century, so my 10-12 years here may feel like an interim to some of the folks here. Recently I have had no spare time. In my spare time in the future, my imagination inhabits a novel I am writing, The Funeral Preacher. My primary blog is a personal reflection on the Revised Common Lectionary...mostly: "Not All Who Wander are Lost." A few years ago I was on a team of writers who produced a little book for Augsburg Fortress in the Washed and Welcome series called "Living the Promises." It's 101 ideas for helping parents and godparents nurture their children in the faith of their baptism. I am developing another blog, more about worship at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Newark, Ohio and including a summary of the past week's preaching. Otherwise, I imagine myself to be a musician, liturgical artist, cook in a five star restaurant where the patrons keep ordering chicken nuggets, but never a bottle washer. I know how to delegate and share.
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