Winter has come early to the island.
Finding ourselves snowed-in following our traditional wine-and-cheese with Nicholas’s relatives, his grandmother led us upstairs to the farthest corner of the pieced-together farmhouse. Tucked beneath the slanted roof of a bedroom smelling of nostalgia (musty comic books), my husband and I snuggled in the stifling darkness, toasty-warm in the stale bedding despite the snow tinkling against the window.
Awaking from a restless sleep (blamed on the lumpy pillows), we padded down the narrow staircase into the kitchen. Ordinarily, I would eat breakfast and get on with my day. But there is something about an old farmhouse that makes one stop, and sit, and keep sitting in the sunlight that has broken through the overcast to grace this retreat in the countryside.
I remember as a child, standing motionless at the bottom of the staircase in my own grandmother’s kitchen. Everyone else was either napping in the heat of the afternoon or tromping in the pasture with Grandpa. I was breathing the stillness of the interior of that beloved yellow farmhouse. And I was watching the stained-glass rose gently revolving at the window that peered out at the century-old evergreens (once believed to hide wolves in their shadows).
I think my soul grew wiser in those moments—I think my soul grew wiser in the kitchen of Nick’s grandmother. For I believe aging does not always occur through what you do . . . but sometimes through what you don’t do. When we sit a minute or two longer in that ladder-back chair and rest in the golden morning, we learn that life passes by as swiftly as we let it. We learn that when we abandon the frenetic rhythm of our daily schedule, we begin to hear the pulsing beat of the heart of God.
I confess that, in the busyness of life, I had forgotten just how much I yearn for simplicity. But it only took a few moments in the quiet of the farmhouse to remember that my heart is happiest when it is beating in time with God’s heart.