Earlier this week a severe storm raged through this area. The rolls of thunder shook the walls and windows of my house, as the winds caused the limbs of tall trees in our yard to scrape against the outer walls as if attempting to gain entry. All of this while pouring rain assaulted the roof and kept visibility from the windows so low that we could barely see the end of our driveway. It frightened my children, and our pets were nowhere to be found, having sought out an impenetrable hiding place in which to ride out the storm.
At the peak of all of this, the following words came to my mind. This is a poem by Louis Untermeyer, and also the lyric to the first hymn in the UU hymnal, Sing the Living Tradition.
Prayer for This House*
May nothing evil cross this door,
And may ill fortune never pry
About these windows; may the roar
And rain go by.
Strengthened by faith, these rafters will
Withstand the battering of the storm;
This hearth, though all the world grow chill,
Will keep us warm.
Peace shall walk softly through these rooms,
Touching our lips with holy wine,
Till every casual corner blooms
Into a shrine.
Laughter shall drown the raucous shout;
And, though these sheltering walls are thin,
May they be strong to keep hate out
And hold love in.
Our homes shelter and care for us, as we care for those we love. Home is a sanctuary; a refuge from the literal – as well as figurative – storms that we encounter throughout our lives. Home is the place where we raise our families, renew our energies, and dream our deepest dreams. The above prayer speaks to me because it reminds me of the significance of this structure beyond merely the roof and walls. It reminds me – especially as the thunder roars through the skies above my head – to have gratitude for all that is provided to me by my home. Comfort and security, certainly; but in addition, all of the most important intangibles are housed here – joy, tranquility, tenderness…
And, of course, the big three: Peace, Love, Compassion… these are born at Home.
~ Christiana*Prayer for This House ©Louis Untermeyer
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