DECK THE HOUSE…

“Oh it’s a perfect day for coffee on the deck!” 

Growing up as a Navy Brat, I moved every two years. It seems like our homes always had small cement porches with enough room for a welcome mat. Sometimes the porch stretched into a patio, but I can’t remember ever having a deck.

It wasn’t until we moved to Arkansas that we were introduced to the wide wooden platforms that apron Southern homes. Some of them were gracefully covered with shingled overhangs that had great big hooks in the beams. You know what those hooks were for… that’s right, porch swings. The huge links to the chains that were bolted into the arm rests would make a creaking sound that soothed the Southern soul. If you heard that porch swing singing in its back and forth rhythm, you knew it was a perfect day for coffee on the deck. 

My dad loved decks. He loved to build them. He couldn’t stop building them. He had more square footage in deck space than inside his house. However, all who knew him knew to tread lightly on his decks. Because he was a lousy carpenter. Horrible. He never met a square or level he liked so he just didn’t use them. If something wasn’t straight, he’d crank up the skill saw and trim it until it looked ok. His decks were like a perpetual bad haircut. 

One of my “someday” sighs had long been a desire for a deck alongside my own home. So it was with calculated intent that I declared a staycation one summer while my parents were snowbirding in Minnesota. We were going to build a deck and we were going to build it right and we were going to build it fast. Before Dad got home.

We loaded up the lumber and hardware, the family showed up with power tools, the kids ran around barefoot, and I made trips to Lowe’s and Pizza Hut. In six days, SIX, we had the deck of our dreams. Added bonus: it was level and square! 

When my dad came home, he said our deck was real nice. High praise from a man who once built a spare room on his deck and declared it sturdy because it was nailed to the house. I am not lying. 

I am so thankful for my deck. It has hosted birthday parties and pumpkin carving and fireworks shows. Casual family meals and quiet morning coffee breaks. Long talks on summer nights watching fireflies give way to starry skies. I look down at those sturdy deck boards and remember tiny footprints of my children who have grown. I touch the railing where my dad leaned and admired the river and I sigh another “someday” as I think of our reunion in Heaven.

The best days are the days that are perfect for coffee on the deck. Nice weather, beautiful view, the dogs darting along the bluff, no noise but the breeze and the birds. We may have a million things to do, but we’ll look outside and realize that right now, right here, it’s time to take a break. To soak it in. To talk about nothing or say nothing at all. To refresh and reset. 

I’m thankful for my deck. I’m really thankful for a perfect day for coffee on the deck. I need to be reminded to refresh and reset. I am very guilty of thinking I’m at my best when I’m busy. Busyness doesn’t make me better, it makes me busy. I would venture to say that one of the toughest fights we have in today’s world is the battle of busyness. We are ambushed by busyness and we are too busy to even notice.

What am I missing when I’m too busy to notice? A friend in need? An area of neglect in my marriage? A rift in the trust I have with my child? An unfavorable behavior that I know needs to be addressed?  There is no success in being too busy. We are kidding ourselves when we measure our worth by how busy we are. Stop! Just stop! You are going to crash and that does not honor God.

Check your wreck at the deck, my friend. If you think it’s selfish to refresh and reset, you are wrong. It’s selfish not to. 

I’m thankful for my deck and I’d like to give you the gift that I have often received on my deck. Refreshment. Come sit on the deck with me. 

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” Jeremiah 31:25

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