So rather than read further, which would’ve been much easier, I decided to take the ballpoint pen and lined notebook paper and draw what was right before me — and do it quickly, without proper paper or the need to prettify my work. I did opt for color because the green was so lush and bright with the afternoon sunlight shining through the leaves, so I found a couple of green markers and sat there in the sun happily coloring away, like I often did as a child. Did I capture the head of Romaine perfectly? Not at all. But did I begin to glimpse its infinite beauty, the curtain of one leaf folded inside another, the veins like tiny circuitry? I did, indeed.
I have a wonderful doctor, who always treats me with affection and skill, but as I sat in the waiting room I’d wondered what she could possibly recommend next. At 84, just when one ailment gets fixed — with a new knee, hearing aids, glasses, medication — something else is bound to go. It’s become a kind of routine.
I was overdue for help, both physical and spiritual. And there she was, this small anonymous messenger from God.
Dreams can be subsumed or trumped, and this was definitely one of those situations. The dream I’d been chasing was replaced by a new reality that moves me to tears and grins in equal measure. I barely think about the old dream unless someone asks about it. Almost two years separate me from that idyllic poolside dive into the unknown, so the dream is slowly regressing into the same nostalgic trophy room where I keep my guitar lessons, my bachelor’s in molecular biology, and my liver from my twenties.
Then one day, it happens: rising out of bed in the new day blessing, rubbing the crusted corners of my eyes, drawing back the curtains, I behold through a breach in seasonal tyranny the previously cloaked indigo canvas. Its light is shocking. Reveling in the vaulted firmament, I swear I will never again curse the heavens or the sun in their — in my! — desertion. I remember to smile.
What I didn’t realize was how deeply entwined are the concepts of hospitality and housework. Keeping a home is an extension of hospitality, not in the way we might think of it as occasionally entertaining guests, but as a way of life. It’s not so important to have a magazine-perfect home or spend hours on end cleaning, but taking the time to clean house, clothes, and people; to make a meal; to make comfortable spaces — these are vital tasks.