It was a fun assignment. Each of us were to write a story titled “My Favorite Room” to read aloud at our Wetzel Reunion years ago.
Here’s what I wrote: “I have lots of rooms to choose from! My family moved a lot during my growing up years (seven different houses) but I know exactly which room was the best: the screened-in back porch in our home in Gladewater. We lived in that little East Texas town just over a year; I was in the 5th grade. I would walk ‘downtown,’ the sand skritching my toes as I flip-flopped to the library. I can still sing the theme song of the movie I saw at the Cozy Theatre, John Wayne’s North to Alaska, with the free ticket I won in the summer reading contest. But let me get back to the our back porch. I loved the weather-worn floor, the creaky door, the bug-filled screen walls and our old green hammock where I would spend hours alone. But no, not alone. I always had my book friends: Cherry Ames, Nancy Drew, Swiss Family Robinson, Black Beauty, Irish Red, and many others. We had many adventures on that screened-in porch, my favorite room.”
Honestly, aren’t screened-in porches the best? And I never had another one until . . . well, here’s that story.
When Jake was rebuilding our home here in Montreat, we tried every which way to get a screened porch, but with legal and geographic limitations, it was impossible.
Disappointed. I still am. (Forgive me, Lord.)
The next year we moved to Ethiopia. After a year in a city apartment during language school, we moved four hours downcountry to Camp Langano. And you won’t be surprised, will you, to hear that the little yellow house we moved in to had … YES! A screened-in porch!
“A pleasure is full-grown only when it is remembered.*
I am feeling full-grown pleasure this afternoon recalling the beautiful moments I experienced on our little screened-in porch.
Praying…reading…writing… at our green plastic table.
Listening to bird choirs.
Welcoming visitors from around the world.
Drawing with children.
Serving pancakes, mixing up cookie dough, eating injera and pizza.
Having Bible studies and strategy discussions and playing games.
Washing clothes in my Magic Queen machine at dusk (we had generated electricity for a few hours each night) and hanging them up to dry on lines across the porch, to the night sounds of the African bush.
And many early mornings, after sitting on that porch, unlatching the screen door to walk out into that exotic and challenging life, I was ready to trust God again.
Besides the full pleasure I am feeling recalling those moments, my heart is glowing with gratitude.
How can I ever thank God enough for all the ways and times He showed me His personal love on that screened-in porch?
What about you, what’s your favorite room?
Have you thanked God?
“Consider what great things the LORD has done for you.” 1 Samuel 12:24
*Ransom in C.S. Lewis’s “Out of the Silent Planet.”