better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fatted calf with hatred. - Proverbs 15:17
I’m thinking about the havens we create. What we allow in and what we say no thank you to. What we compromise on and what we hold our ground on. What is required for each of us to say, “I can rest here.”
Towels. Big, fluffy, towels fresh from a dryer with the scent of fabric softener emanating. That was what I thought would be the ultimate luxury when I was younger, living at home in a large family. Towels were dried on a clothes line almost always and they weren’t replaced often.
The towel situation was dire in an otherwise pretty nice childhood. I’ll admit as an adult I’ve bought some nice towels and I’ve never hung them up outside to dry. My towels are soft and I never feel like there is a shortage of them. It is a small thing. A high pile of fresh towels whispers, here is a haven, to me.
Creating a haven, whether it be a house or a position of the soul is created by paying attention, being grateful and then protecting and caring for it. It’s where we let our guard down. It’s where we rest and eat nourishing food and hear encouraging words. It’s where out hearts turn toward God.
“Have your heart right with Christ, and he will visit you often, and so turn weekdays into Sundays, meals into sacraments, homes into temples, and earth into heaven.” Charles Spurgeon
A haven is a smaller more intimate world we are blessed to sink into whenever we need to. Cozy and comforting. Loving rather than hateful, even when we are craving meat and wine and decadent desserts. Remember the price. The cost can steadily increase as we clutter our haven with more things, more food, more spots for more activities, more people.
Soon it is no longer a haven at all. No longer a place where God whispers, “you can rest here.” We forget that a bowl of vegetables and herbs in peace can be such a blessing. When we have sat at a fancy dining table laden with everything anyone could ever want to eat and the throat closes up and the sides of the neck ache from pressure of breath and tears held in; we remember the simple and how happy it can make us.
It’s not the food or the towels that are important. It’s the pervading peace inside the temple created because we paid attention to what comforts or what harms us and we are wise enough to be grateful to God and protect what He has given us.