A Devotional Thought by Linda Sommerville
The House with The Golden Windows
There is a story told of a young boy who lived with his parents in a cottage on a hillside, overlooking a wide valley. His greatest joy was to sit on the doorstep on summer evenings and gaze across the valley to a house miles away on the opposite hillside, for, just as the sun was sinking in the west, the windows of that house would burst into flame, shining dazzlingly with golden light. How perfectly happy the people must be who live there, he thought!
One day he packed sandwiches and set off to find the house with the golden windows, but it was farther off than he expected, and it was already towards sunset as he climbed steeply uphill. To his disappointment the house was a plain cottage after all, and the windows were just ordinary windows. The good people there offered him supper, and made up a bed in the kitchen, for it was too late now for him to return. That night, in his dream, he asked directions of a girl about his age. “The house with the golden windows? Yes, I’ve seen it.” And she pointed. He woke to the early song of the birds. Drawing the curtain aside he looked out. There far across the valley, was his own house – and, wonder of wonders, its windows flashed with gold in the brightness of the morning sun.
From: Celtic Daily Prayer, 1996, pg. 446.
Have you ever had an experience like this? I know I have. Just like the little boy in the story, I can sometimes find myself looking across the valley or across the street, thinking how great someone else has it, imagining how happy I would be if only I had the circumstances, possessions, family or blessings that they have. Unfortunately, in the process of looking elsewhere, I can miss the good gifts of God right in front of me, or at least not fully appreciate and enjoy them.
During this season of isolation, it can be even harder some days to see the blessings God is giving me. Sometimes I want to escape my present reality. But escape is not the answer! Rather than setting out across the valley to find joy and peace and happiness, I need to ask God to open my eyes to the beauty and good gifts all around me, right here and now.
As the French novelist Marcel Proust once said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in seeing with new eyes.” This is my prayer for each of us – that God would give us new eyes to see the beauty and blessings, both big and small, that he has showered upon us.
To help us gain these new eyes to see God’s good gifts, I encourage you to take some time today and ask God to help you see and recognize the blessings he’s given you, and then write them down. Then, take time to thank God for each thing on the list. You may want to keep this list handy where you can see it, so if any time during the day you feel tempted to look at the blessings that others have or to wish you were somewhere else, you can look at this list and thank God once again.
You may also want to share this list with a friend or family member, and tell them what each thing means to you. Sometimes sharing with others can also help complete our enjoyment and gratitude. This practice of gratitude can help each of us gain new eyes and be more attuned to the good gifts of God.