My sweat was dripping from my overheated skin through my running shorts and shirt. I spread out a towel on top of my 20 year old hope chest. My husband handcrafted it as a Christmas gift before we were engaged. The hinge of the lid has been broken for years, it sits upon the chest. I use the chest for my clothes and a place to sit in our bedroom to take off my running shoes. I was catching my breath after my 4 mile morning run in the heat and humidity of July. The cold air of the overworked air-conditioning was starting to ease my discomfort. After removing my shoes I did something as a mom of four I rarely do. I paused to relax.
I glanced up from my shoes to our bedroom walls. My eyes caught sight of the art work that hangs on the wall above the head of our four poster bed. It was also a gift from my husband for my 21st Birthday. It is a portrait of a young woman modestly kneeling, head bowed, with her long hair covering the front of her pure body. It struck me the first time I saw it as innocence of God’s purest creation. I smiled faintly and continued to look about the walls of my bedroom to the opposite wall. There hung one of my favorite prints. I purchased it on a hot Saturday morning from a yard sale years ago. It is a print of a hand drawn young mother holding her small son against her chest. Her face expresses a deep love for her son and beautiful contentment of her spirit.
On the wall above my head hung the beautiful wooden clock that has our wedding vows written on its face. It is engraved with our names and wedding date. The battery died months ago and the hands read 6:55 at all times. On the final wall hangs a unique crucifix. Also given to us as a wedding gift. Jesus is crafted from barbed wire. It was created in a foreign country and hand made by an artist. That crucifix seems to pull all my art together. The creation of the beautiful, pure body. The marriage of two becoming one in the presence of God. The mother who loves her child with the contentment which God loves each of us in every moment of our existence.
I closed my eyes and thanked God for each element, each piece of art that reflects a different part of my life that makes me whole, who I am meant to be; a daughter adoring God, a wife married within the sacrament of God’s church, a mother giving unconditional love, never forgetting that without Jesus Christ none of this would come to pass.
I stood up slowly noticing that the sweat was now dried and cold from the air-conditioning, slightly chilled I headed towards the shower. I walked down the hill to the bathroom passing each of my children’s rooms, where they were each still soundly sleeping and my heart was full.