Thursday, January 18, 2024

Woodstove Altar


This is the fifth winter that I've been in charge of our outdoor woodstove. You'd think I'd have accepted it by now, but every fall it hits me again.

When I'm crawling into bed and realize I forgot to fill the woodstove, or when I wake up to a cold house and know that the fire went out, or, despite my best efforts, the house is STILL cold, and I'm not sure if the culprit is the fan or the compressor or the thermostat - the woodstove becomes an analogy for all the hard things about widowhood.

I know I'm blessed with brothers and sons that spend hours cutting wood to fill the woodshed. I'm grateful that a few years before his death, Ed had put in a radiant heating system for a cozy house. But that doesn't replace the fact that I still wish Ed was here to pull on his boots on frigid mornings and windy nights and fill the woodstove.

But as the weeks go by, I find my attitude changing. I still don't love this chore, but I learn to accept the task. I find a rhythm of pulling on gloves and boots, crunching over the frozen yard, sliding open the stove door, and heaving wood into the depths.

On clear nights, I flick off the woodshed light and gaze at the stars. I don't do this often enough - take my eyes off earth and my problems and look into the gigantic universe and worship the Creator of it and me.

Then I turn to the gleaming lights of our home. My heart hurts with the longing to keep the ones inside warm and safe.

It is a job too big for a woman who struggles to keep the woodstove filled. But it isn't too big for Him.

And filling the woodstove has become, again, an altar of worship.

This post was written on Instagram. If you wish, you can follow me there @homejoysmom

I began blogging way back in 2008 on Blogger. As new platforms cropped up (Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress), I just kept on Blogspot. 

Fifteen years is a crazy amount of time, and sometimes I wonder if it is time to change. I've struggled the last couple years to find an email provider for the blog that works well. (If you read this blog by email, you may have missed the recipe for brownie batter dip.) Maybe I should switch to Instagram or Substack or some other platform. But I don't want to lose the archives here. And I don't want to be sucked into another time-draining social media platform.

So for now, I'm experimenting and learning over at Instagram, while keeping this site alive. I'd love to hear your input. Are you on Instagram or Substack? What are the pros and cons? If you are reading this, I know you read blogs, but do you think your blog reading will continue?


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