Saturday, June 13, 2009
During my second year of law school, I rented an apartment over the garage in a home occupied by a lovely older woman named Mrs. Christie. She was a widow and often left treats she'd baked or vegetables she'd grown in her garden for me. She once told me a story that I think about from time to time, and when I took this picture the other evening it reminded me of it. The story goes like this:
One morning, a little girl was looking across the valley from her house, admiring the beautiful golden windows on a house on the top of the hill.
"Mom," she said, "Do you see that house on the hill with golden windows? It must be so beautiful there, and the people who live there must be so wealthy! I'll bet they have no problems and their lives are filled with happiness every day. I wish OUR HOUSE had golden windows."
"Oh, darling," replied the mother, "no one's life is perfect. Even people who live in a house with golden windows."
"No, I think you are wrong! I want to go see for myself!" So the mother packed the daughter a lunch, and away the daughter went to cross the valley and see how wonderful life was for the people who lived in the house with golden windows.
The girl walked all day long. As she reached the bottom of the valley, she lost sight of the house but kept going. It was dusk by the time she reached the top of the other hill. But to her surprise, all she found was an ordinary house. She saw no golden ornaments, nothing that made the house look different or more special than any other house. The people looked ordinary, just like the people in her own family. She was puzzled.
Disappointed, she turned around to gaze at her own house across the valley she'd just crossed. And to her surprise, her house was ablaze with light. The windows shone with gold as the setting sun lit them up. In disbelief, she looked again at the ordinary house in front of her, then back to her house gleaming across the way.
"MY house has golden windows!" she said in amazement. She stood for a moment, struck by how beautiful her house looked from this side of the valley. She took off running back down the hill, eager to return to her family. And never again did the little girl look at someone else's house, or life, with envy.
This house -- and yes, it is a single family home (when it was being built, we all thought it was a hotel or a fancy clubhouse for a country club or something) sits on the hill above my neighborhood. It's a bit "king of the county" for my taste, but it sure looks beautiful at sunset.
I'll be catching up on my blogging! I promise!