Homebound: From Mersea To Maplehurst With Love, March First

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Christie and I are homebound. I, a writer of poetry and prose, am bound to Mersea, a 1904 simple white Victorian, nestled in the historic district of a southern shrimping village. She is bound to Maplehurst, a red-brick farmhouse built by Pennsylvania Quakers in 1880. We are both writers, wives, and mothers, but nearly twenty years and hundreds of miles lie between us.

This season, as winter turns toward spring and Lent leans toward Easter, Christie and I are writing letters, she beneath the hemlocks and maples and I beneath the pines and pecans. We reflect together on our homebound journeys. We will explore the bonds of love and faithfulness that tie us, and not always easily, to these particular places and to the people sheltered within them.

Please join us for an epistolary exploration of love, loss and restoration.

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My first letter to Christie may be found here. To read Christie’s response click here or the link to her letter may be found at the conclusion of my own.

February 2017

(From my green leather chair, the color of pea soup, at Mersea)

Dear One:

The wind is almost violent today. The gusts are like bursts of labor; nature is birthing something weather-wise that reminds me of the hurricanes we have lived through. Mersea has seen more than I. But I have seen all I care to see in one lifetime. Last fall’s hurricane, the one named Matthew, made landfall here. We chose to ride it out, to stay with our home and so we witnessed the force, the power, the destructive nature of the wind.

Today when the wind stops howling it is so peaceful and yet there is this waiting. The pattern is set. There will be more rattling and rumblings. The wind comes in like a train too fast at the station. My heart calms and speeds up in tandem with the wind.

Each time the wind barrels through the pine trees I am reminded of the bending and breaking they do. How resilient they are. And yet, in a moment one could come down on the house. The gust too much for the fragile, weak or old tree. So much restoring left to do here and yet a ripped and damaged roof would add to the list of “we need to’s”. I love the restoring. It feels important and life-giving. But do I want to add a project birthed from disaster?

I love the trees here in the village and at Mersea. They are mostly old and grand , some pecan, some pine and some oak. We live with them and learn from them. They seem to be storytellers and teachers. Walking us through the seasons with hope and renewal. Pointing out and upward with limbs of praise.

In the winter they appear to be grieving. Bearing up under the weight of their bareness. Providing so much and asking so little. Generous to a fault like the one in the book, “The Giving Tree”. Givers and teachers and beacons of what’s to come, these trees seem to be. Shade givers and hammock holders. Tire swing hangers and fig producers.

The wind is coming in a little calmer now. Just as the seasons do, change comes if we hold on tight and wait. I can hear the songbirds better when the wind dies down. Their song is vibrant, telling a story I cannot quite interpret. But yet, and yet, I miss the passion of the heavy gusts.

Our restoration has slowed down a bit here. I miss the passion we once had. But in this time of dormancy I am learning contentedness in the waiting. The quiet lull between projects provides a sanctuary of sorts. I must wait. And it is always good, no better even, when I do. It changes and shapes me, this waiting.

Peace and grace to you and your beloved Maplehurst. You are on my heart as I wonder what is being birthed and restored in your own heart and in your home.

Wishing you joy and hope in your restoration,

Elizabeth,  Mersea

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To read Christie’s beautiful response to me from Maplehurst  follow the link to her blog found here. Christie, author of “Roots and Sky” writes on her blog Christie Purifoy, A Spacious Place

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From Me To Me– Words For Me {And Maybe For You}

Dear Me:

Psalm 36:5 says “God’s love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic,”

Jude 1:2: “Relax, everything’s going to be all right; rest, everything’s coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!


1 Corinthians 13:7: Love “Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.”

From,

Me ( with all content lovingly from God via The Message)

The Best Of The Three Is Love

I want to love like that.

Cover fully in a cloak of love, wash in an outpouring of infinitesimal detail of nurture, care about the most precious ways of lovings….love.

Her hallmark is care and nurture to a high degree. A twinkle in her eye of that next small yet grand expression of love.  Pillows of down fluffed just right, lemons freshly picked from her tree sent out the door with her children to squeeze, experience, savor.  The fruit of her love.

Sharing a book on Ireland or Maine, asking won’t you look on beauty with me.  Won’t you share the smallest of treasures with me.  And let’s linger.  Let’s talk.  Let’s savor this moment.

The cheese is softening in the warmth of the window ledge and it will have reached its own cheesey perfection soon.   In the world of Saga lovers it will be divine perfection.  A love gift.

I want to learn more about love from her.  How chicken baking tells children I want to nourish and feed you with all that I am and all that I have.  I want to fill your soul with my love.

Extravagant love in the simple.

Learn to receive the smallest love gifts, a touch, a word, a gesture, time spent with family with a deep appreciation.

And to respond by giving.

To hand out freely to give richly to savor all.

Because I have experienced the love of this woman I know love in this way.  Dwelling on the love language of nourishing and nurturing and love in the details leads me to think on the absence of these.  The what if these were not.  The pain of void of love in the details.  The inattention to all the small gestures of grace and love and tenderness.
The pain that comes from being ignored and unloved.

She tells me she was stopped by the man on the street, the local reporter while shopping at the Piggly Wiggly.  She is beaming with something simple yet meaningful she wants to share.  She tells of the young woman so cold, no sweater shivering.  The reporter asks, begs really, “You’re my last interviewee, after you I can go home.”

“So I said well sure.”  The question from the newspaper reporter was what is the most important thing in your home?

She smiles like a warm and wonderful secret is lying in wait. Like she needs and wants to share what she has discovered. She asks me not to tell her husband she wants him to be surprised.

“I told them my family.”  Family is her greatest treasure.

We prepare for church and she brings a gift of warmth to my shoulders, covers me in fur.  Love gifts always stirring in her heart and mind.  Her heart is beating with excitement because she knows she will be covered by the words of her beloved preacher.  The man whose own life has touched her a fresh.  And she cherishes the weeks remaining before she’s left to carry on without her beloved preacher.  The repetition of her deep respect and devotion for him penetrates my own heart as I grieve this upcoming loss, this void which will cause her deep pain.

To hand out freely, to give richly, to savor all.

To love extravagantly.

I want to love like that.