I am discovering that even when life overflows with family illnesses, employment challenges, and a variety of other things which could so easily pull my thoughts into a downward curve, deep within me is a slow-paced, prayerful, thankful and tranquil heart.
I have been wondering just how common is the 'homebody' these days? Since becoming a mother that's exactly how I have described myself, but as I think back further, to my younger years with Nana and Pop, I am reminded that I was already a homebody then.
Being home was such a wonderful place to spend time. There was comfort and security observing Nana's daily rituals of homemaking, every week almost a mirror image of the one before, yet never boring, never constrictive - always peaceful, always productive, and always with that added cup of love and laughter.
I have drawn often from my childhood memories being raised in Nana and Pop's modest little flat, with it's bathroom and toilet and laundry in the backyard. As I learn about preserving, I remember our choko vine which grew over the back fence and ended up wound around the toilet roof, and how every year Nana would pick those spiky chokos, peel and chop them, then adding onions and spices, she'd cook up a huge pot of pickles and fill every jar she could find with them. Those pickles were delicious and for the next year Pop and I would generously smother our roast beef sandwiches with them. I also liked them spread on toast, topped with cheese and grilled for breakfast. My mouth is watering thinking about that! When Nana died, there were just a few jars of her pickles left in the cupboard and Pop insisted I take them. He was always trying to bless me.
Growing up in a time when people only went out to visit on the weekend - and I realise that growing up with grandparents was probably different to being raised by parents in the 60's - may well be why I enjoy life that way today. Life was calm, predictable, a gentle rhythmic hum of routines from week to week. I knew that when I got home from school there'd be milk and a snack at the kitchen table while I told Nana all about my day. Then homework while she got started on dinner, folded washing, or prepared my school clothes for the next day.
She wasn't distracted by phone calls, the television, social media, texting...Nana was right there in the moment, with me. There was never a rush because she got all her household tasks done each day - she wasn't 'called away' by the distractions we have today.
After the dinner dishes were done and the table set for breakfast, we'd usually sit out on the front steps and watch the sun go down in summer, or gaze at the stars in winter, a cup of tea in our hands, Pop in his rocker near us with glass of port in his hand.
Some of the neighbours would be out on their front steps too, and we'd all wave and chat a little about the day, but then we'd all return back to our family conversation until Pop said, "Come on ladies, time to go inside. I have to get up early for work tomorrow and we all need some sleep."
Precious, calm, lovely, warm memories of simpler times.
Today I am inspired by those days gone by, the slower pace, the diligence of keeping a clean and welcome home, the quiet evenings, the large pots of tea, and being undistracted with the ones you love.
Today I read of a world which is has a "rushing to and fro" lifestyle for most people, with endless distractions from mobile phones and the world within them. I read that many people have lost the art of simplicity, and for too many peace eludes them. At first I thought this was the younger generation, those who have grown up with the internet and mobile phones - but apparently this sad state covers all generations. The hook of social media life has well and truly robbed many minds and lives of quiet thought, time to push a mop, ears to stop and listen, a slower ebb and flow life.