Our Simple Home a Place Divine

Great-Gram's Poetry BookI have few family heirlooms, and none have value outside of my home. Still, what I have, I treasure, and what I treasure most, perhaps, is the book of poetry my great-grandfather gave my great-grandmother on their wedding day in February, 1905.

Inscribed inside from him to her is this verse from one of the poems of Riley’s Love Lyrics, long out-of-print:

And have the shine/of one glad woman’s eyes to make, for my poor sake,/Our simple home a place divine/Just the wee cot–the cricket’s chirr–/Love, and the smiling face of her.

Okay, maybe long out-of-print for a reason.

I would like to say their marriage was a love story for the ages, but it wasn’t. It was as good or bad a union as any of its time, with one exceptional result: all of their children, including all four women, received a college education. (My grandmother, I believe, was the only one who didn’t graduate, but in her day, women going to college was the exception, not the rule, and she was as smart, and ultimately, as educated, as any of them.)

And their children were good people. I speak of them and not my great-grandparents only because they were the people I knew, and I respected them.

I’ve had several friends lose their parents this past week in a somewhat shocking series of losses, and in each case I’ve been struck by this: the legacy they left behind in their children, some despite themselves, others because of a lifetime of sacrifice for their children.

panzram wedding
My great- grandparents on their wedding day.

My great-grandparents clearly started out their marriage with all the hope and anticipation of any newlywed couple, and over the years that youthful belief in each other grew into a deeper knowledge of their spouse’s faults and failings, strengths and unique qualities.

Life is a journey, and not an easy one. We have our benchmark moments, but mostly we have day to day experiences that little by little define us, both to ourselves and others. We look for inspiration in the things around us, but we do the best we can with the power we have at any given moment.

And that’s okay. Our choices evolve, we grow, we’re inspired by others and suddenly we see ourselves in a whole new light. It starts a new path without requiring much thought at that point, because it’s who we want to be.

We want to be better, and we find ourselves seeking that good we know is there inside our souls, to show it to the world. As if the world hadn’t seen it already.



5 Replies to “Our Simple Home a Place Divine”

  1. I so agree with you that life is a journey. Sometimes our inspiration is within our own souls. I actually have learned that instead of showing my goodness to the world – appreciating myself is the first step.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Condolences for the losses suffered that you mentioned in the post. I heard a quote today that spoke to me and maybe will also speak to you and your readers…it is relevant to those of us on the “downside” of life age-wise who are trying to figure out “the rest.” “Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be.” We can easily forget what we’ve accomplished and achieved in our life, focusing more on whatever we didn’t do yet or are dissatisfied with in our life. Life is indeed a journey. We should appreciate the moments past as we contemplate those moments we hope yet to experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s been a long week, and I appreciate your thoughts. So many people my age are losing their parents and I know someday it will be me. Today both my mom and dad are healthy, but they’ll also both turn 80 this year, which is a shock to me. They still seem so young! Today’s prompt, “sentimental,” seemed appropriate for the kind of rambling thoughts I’ve had all week. It seems others understand those “rambles” as well, for this isn’t my most cohesive post, but it is from the heart.

      Liked by 1 person

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