The crackling fire brings me here.
I listen to the rain. I listen to the soft chatter of a three year old molding her imaginary world. I listen to my wife’s woolen footsteps on a tile floor. I listen to the rhythmic bang of a two year old dropping Legos into a basket as slowly as possible in playful defiance. Cinders pop in the black stove in the corner as I listen to the stuttered silence of a Sunday.
This symphony brings me peace and reminds me that I am home. It brings me back to the things that matter. It reminds me of the people I am lucky enough to love. And it reminds me of how lucky I am to have people who love me.
That is really all that matters – the people we love, who love us. Life gets so filled up with dissonance and details that our attention can split from the real stuff. Tomorrow the week starts again and I have already found myself thinking of lists and creating tasks. These things do need to be done, but these things are not the point. In my world, the food needs to be cooked, the house needs to be cleaned, the errands run. My wife will go to work. But the point isn’t the tasks themselves or the work for work’s sake; the point is that all of this is done to take care of our family. The point is the people.
Today is a lazy day and the reminders come gently and quietly on to my lap, not even disturbing the dog sleeping on the couch next to me.
But sometimes they can come out of the dark and club you down. Sometimes they hurt. They can toss you like a wave, tumbling you over and throwing you down.
But they are reminders of the same thing.
This life is a gift because of the people we are fortunate enough to love. As I sit and write this I glance around at pictures of my children, my wife, my brother and me, my father – and I am filled. This life is a gift because of the people we are fortunate enough to love, whether or not they are still standing with us.
This life is love and love is eternal.
As I write this my daughter races into the room and jumps into my lap – a reminder in purple polka dot pajamas. Nap time is over now and I think I’ll go sit by the fire with the people I love.
I hope that the sound of a crackling fire will always bring me back to this.