by Afton Rorvik
A large, striped, overstuffed, tan chair with a matching ottoman sits poised in my living room with a view of the front window and my front garden. I have spent many morning hours in this chair, welcoming the sun on my face and meeting God. I read His Word there and worship Him through music. I pour out my heart to Him in prayers, some written in journals. Our time. My chair.
And then the pandemic hit.
My husband began working at home. Our young adult daughter moved in with her tuxedo cat.
And “my” chair seemed to draw people and pets like a magnet.
I frequently found my husband stretched out there with his long legs draped over the ottoman. Our daughter’s cat and our aging cockapoo asked for permission in their own way. They hovered, and nudged, or rubbed against me, all the while eyeing the warm, coziness of “my” chair.
For years this chair has acted as a peaceful oasis for me, helping me find and hear Jesus when the storms roared or when the world felt dry. During the uncertainty of this pandemic I have needed that peaceful oasis more than ever. And yet, apparently, so did other people and even pets.
My younger self would have simply given over the chair to the needy in my orbit. My older self, more aware of my introverted self and what I need to thrive, does not so quickly relinquish the chair.
Have I become more selfish? Maybe.
Have I become more self-aware? Definitely.
I now understand that my introverted self needs the fuel that quiet provides. If I want to navigate uncertainty well, I must do it with great gulps of quiet every day. I need my chair. And I need to speak that need aloud. If I don’t say something, I will simmer in resentment and not have the energy I need to live life well in uncertainty.
And so I embarked on a polite discussion with my husband about the fact that he was sitting in “my” chair. We negotiated a treaty of sorts where I lay claim to the chair during weekday morning, and he enjoys it on weekend mornings.
Our daughter and the tuxedo cat moved into their own apartment a few months ago. And our cockapoo seems to have discovered that if he sits on the ottoman with me quietly, I will eventually get up and surrender the chair to him.
Stretching and adjusting to provide others with the gift of peace in a chaotic, unpredictable time seems like the right and kind thing to do, but I’ve realized I can’t do that well unless I also own and ask for what I need.
Who knew a chair could offer and teach so much?
Afton Rorvik writes about living connected, something that matters deeply to her even as an introvert. In her book Storm Sisters, she talks about the power of friendship in hard times. Afton and her husband John have two adult children and love to walk and hike in Colorado. You can connect with Afton at https://aftonrorvik.com/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LearningtoLiveConnected/