Saturday’s Lenten exercise in Simplifying the Soul was to set up a space for prayer. While the exercise focused on one finding a natural setting for daily prayer, this just isn’t possible for me. Sorry, but I live in Houston. Even if I didn’t live in a subdivision hellbent on cramming as many dittoed houses onto itty bitty lots with nonexistent yards as is physically possible, it would still be flat, humid, ugly, excessively illuminated Houston.
(I grew up in the wilderness of Missouri. I’ve lived half my life in cities, but I still haven’t adapted to the idea of streetlights.)
So instead of seeking natural beauty, I evaluated our space for prayer in the house, and improved upon it.
Our little family oratory was in a corner of the master bedroom. Originally it was downstairs in a corner of the living room, and this worked well until December rolled around and we put up the Christmas tree. Then we found that there just wasn’t space for both the oratory and the tree. And there wasn’t space anywhere else for the tree. So I unpacked the last boxes from the unused corner of the master bedroom, and we moved the oratory there.
Initially, I was happy with this arrangement. But as I finally began to get the breviary figured out (a process of 12 years), I wanted to pray Lauds regularly and couldn’t at our oratory without waking Himself up from his much deserved sleep. The obvious solution was to go downstairs, and I did, but it upset my aesthetic sensibilities. We had a perfectly nice little oratory, and I couldn’t put it to use.
So we moved the oratory back downstairs, to a new location in the living room. I’m much happier with it. Upstairs I put a small bench in the oratory’s old location, eventually to be replaced by a rocking chair, and now we have a place (not the bed) to sit and put on our shoes.
Tuesday morning, I found my natural beauty.
I’m a fanatic about natural light. I like light in my house. I’ll never go for those exterior blackout screens, no matter how well they help cool the house. But the light and the room have to compliment each other. The bedroom window is a northeast one, and the light that comes in through it is just wonderful, it always seems cool and fresh, even in summer. I made new curtain panels last month, just to compliment that window’s light.
When I sat down that morning to put on socks and shoes, I got lost for a moment, soaking it in.
GeekBaby was rampaging around the upstairs with an old poster tube, there were beds to make and errands to run, so it was a short moment. But it was a very, very good one.