Monday, August 04, 2008

The House at the Top of the Big Hill

Her house sat just at the top of the big hill. Two miles laid behind me and there was still another mile and a half to go. My legs were heavy trying their best to keep up the steady pace as I plodded along conquering the hill that was seemingly endless. At the top, I took a deep breath and that is when I saw her. My heart sank for I knew she would want to engage in conversation. I must not stop the pace. I was on track to complete the three and a half mile trek in record time. I did not have time to talk. Not wanting to appear rude, I smiled as I passed her house. I called out good morning, and commented on how beautiful her flowers were. She came to the edge of the porch smiling at me. She was thrilled that somebody was chatting with her. She pointed to a bush and asked me if I knew what it was. I called it by name, and she pointed to another flower wanting to know if I knew that one. I knew that flower quite well and once again called out the name still walking, but at a much slower pace by now. I saw her shoulders droop and the excitement that had been so evident in her face was replaced by disappointment. I stopped my steps knowing full well that the longer I stood there the lactic acid would build in my legs. I pointed to a glorious stand of flowers and asked her what they were called. With that one question, she gave me a lesson on the particular flower. She offered to save me some seeds so I could enjoy them in my own yard. I agreed to the gift.

The elderly lady was excited because she had been given an opportunity to share her passion and knowledge with a younger woman. What she did not realize was that she was touching one of my passions as well. As I stood in the shade of the old farmhouse, I validated her by giving her some of my time and attention. By the time I took the next few steps, my legs were heavy with lactic acid not wanting to obey the command to walk. For the rest of my journey, my mind was filled with the elderly lady that lived in the little white house at the top of the big hill. The house was small, but well kept. It was old, but somehow seemed much loved. She had shared that her and her siblings had been born in that house and raised there too. She had lived all her days in that house not even leaving to marry. The house sits on the edge of the road. The front yard is just large enough to grow a few stands of flowers. However the back of the house opens up to the most glorious beauty that one can imagine. The hills are gently rolling until a point that begins to ascend into the mountains. The mountains are covered with trees and the pastures are a luscious green all the way up to the tree line. There are a few barns dotting the scenery. The cows feast on the green grass and offer an occasional "moo" to add to the ambiance. She was born there and someday will die there. I wondered what life would have been like when she was a child. I am left with only my imaginations as I ponder on what life must have been like eighty years ago in our neck of the woods. I am sure somehow that they did not need to walk this loop in order to give their bodies much needed exercise. I am sure their life was full of exertions that filled the need to burn a few calories. My heart is full of thanksgiving that I am allowed to spend my exercise time enjoying such beautiful scenery all around me. I am indeed even thankful for the big hill that seems to never end. For when I come to the top, I know there is an old woman that has a story to tell just waiting for someone to listen.

grace and peace,


Marci said...

Oh Julie, I am so glad you stopped and talked to her. There are so many lonely people out there. We have a friend we go to see (not often enough). She lives all alone on a 100+ acre farm. She is a bit on the eccentric side and people don't go there often. She loves it when we come because she always gets a hug and now a kiss on her cheek since she started giving me one. She wrote me a letter that made me cry. She said of all the gifts we have brought her, the hugs are the best.

Anonymous said...


I've thought about all the exercise that we (cough ..ahem,,it's more like I intend to do it) do now. Must go walk the track air-conditioned track, none the less.

Then, I think about my they "exercised" just to survive. Just to provide shelter and food and clean clothes, etc.

And I know I shouldn't whine about having to walk down to the basement to the washer and dryer. I truly truly need to work on a spirit of thanksgiving.

Thanks for a great post.

TnFullQuiver said...

It is so important for us to take time out of our life and minister to those in need. Being lonely does qualify as a need in my opinion. It must make your heart sing to know that she treasures you because you took the time to visit with her. I believe that is the work of the ministry in action!

I am so glad you commented. We all need to cultivate that spirit of thanksgiving. I remember one day when I had 3 young children. It seemed that ALL I did in life was clean house and wash clothes. As I was loading the washing machine with yet another load, the Lord brought the scripture to my mind about "Where the trough is clean there is no oxen, but much increase comes by way of the oxen". This changed my whole outlook on our home. I will be quoting that scripture again today as I go about my day cleaning our house yet again!! By the way, my little "oxen" will all be helping me!
grace and peace,