A world outside my window

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

My husband and I recently sold our house in the suburbs and moved to the city, into a two-room condo on the third floor of an old brick townhouse (one room for him, one for me) which had to serve our every need.

We enjoyed telling our dumbstruck friends (most of them liked our big house just fine) that his "office" (a desk and computer) was also our "bedroom" (a pull-down bed), our kitchen, (with a pass-through counter), and our "entertainment center" (a pocket-sized TV and a Bose radio).

My "office" (another desk with computer) doubled, or tripled, as a "dining room" (take the magazines off the coffee table and eat), a "guest room" (open up the sofa), and "living room" (I got the fireplace and two chairs). But we couldn't have been happier. Our city buzzes with current events, art, and cultural diversity. Not a day goes by that I don't hear someone speaking French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, or Chinese.

I soon saw that the best part of our little abode was the window beside my desk. It looks out over the rooftops of other apartment houses, and beyond to a river and another city, where the morning sun glints off the windows of buildings where still more people live. I spend a part of every morning just sitting at that window and loving the thousands of people within my view.

There was only one drawback to our new space: no garden. I'd transformed the yard of our house in the suburbs from a scruffy patch of bug-infested grass into what I'd thought was the closest thing to heaven on earth. Hundreds of different kinds of flowers and blooming shrubs grew there. But here, we didn't even have a porch.

Still, deep down I knew this move was good for us. We were soon more involved with our community - and with the wider world, through civic events and the arts - than we'd been before. So I asked God one of my "I know You know what You're doing, Father, but ..." questions: "Dear God, given that I accept this new setup as part of the great good You have for me, what do You want me to think about the fact that I'm missing a yard?" I had no idea what the answer would be, but I was willing to listen for it.

Then, last week, we saw another, slightly larger place that had a little garden. This condo was on the first floor, so we wouldn't have a view of the city, but still .... I stood outside, thinking about where I'd put a butterfly bush, some roses, some cosmos.... We told the real estate agent we'd go home and think about making an offer.

But when we walked down the cobblestone path that leads to our building, we knew we were home. We were struck with the beauty of the light. We loved seeing the colorful stroller of the friendly toddler who lives next door. Best of all, when we walked up the three floors to our condo, there was that beautiful window, looking out onto the pulsing city. "OK, Father," I said. "If You don't want me to have a garden, OK." We decided not to make an offer on the other place.

This might sound indecisive to some folks, but it has become very natural for both of us to turn our desires over to God, Spirit, like that. I've found that the Great Momentum, as I've come to call God more and more lately, always moves me to where I'm supposed to be, and at exactly the right time.

A statement in Mary Baker Eddy's book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" describes this deep trust: "Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds" (page 1). I've learned - sometimes from tough experiences - that I don't always know what's right for me, and that I might be desiring something that isn't in my best interest. But God always has my best interests at heart.

Well, our building manager phoned, hardly able to contain her exuberance. Our condo association's long-delayed plans to build a roof deck were going through. Better yet, the builders were starting in two days!

I sat on our sofa and thought, "Boy! How would I have felt if we'd rushed to buy that place and then found out we were going to get a garden on the roof?" Our new garden will include all those thousands of people I pray for every morning as I look out my window. I said, "Thank you, God, for helping me know my desires."

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