I was three windows from the end of my task—cleaning interior window surfaces—when I started at the winter beauty outside our bedroom window: a mountain ash tree, leafless and stark, accenting a backdrop of brown hills, their tops white with a thin glaze of snow, their foothills luxuriating in emergent green. I thought of what a great thing windows are, giving us an ability to see outdoors without sleeping there. (My idea of camping involves escalating minimums every year; we’re probably close to Marriot rank by now, but it doesn’t matter if we avoid travel.) I also reflected on our Norman-Saxon forebears (as depicted in Ivanhoe—I don’t think many left diaries) who probably never bore the burden of a single thought that windows could always be cleaner.
Before embarking on my weekly thought-heavy venture of cleaning window panes, sills, frames, and tracks, and our three upholstered chairs and our cat’s fleece window hammock, I had been thinking of God’s extravagant love for us, expressed in such things as the sun coming out on a cloudy winter day, and marriage, and having friends, and motivation to do things, like write to friends, and make biscuits, and clean things in a comfortable home heated and cooled to a precise custom temperature with the touch of a finger, and a cat who purrs as he sidles across a hurdle to get into my lap, displacing only my water tumbler—and that to the floor, not onto the computer already occupying my targeted lap. And there is all the water I need where that water came from, and it flows readily at the touch of an absurdly handy faucet: I have never drawn water from a well and borne it in a jar in my life. And there were people who did: they drew and carried water and other very hard things, and they loved God more immanently than I could ever imagine. And still, even they: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the women who fetched their water, did not, could not love God a trillionth as much as God loved them, or anyone else who knows himself or herself to be the worst sinner in the world, before or since the advent of windows, and thermostats, and faucets. And coffee! How loving a provision is that! How amazing, the manner of love the Father has bestowed on us.