Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Woodstove

Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5: 19-20

It’s that time of the year again; the time when chilly days give way to cold nights, temperatures start to flirt with the low 30s, and we awake to frost blanketing the land. The eerie chill over the house means that the inevitable is about to happen….the lighting of the wood stove. It’s a yearly tradition I’ve come to dread, and one I’m praying desperately to feel more thankful about.

Wood is our main source of heat for the winter months, and anyone who has experienced the role of being the one to keep the home fires burning will understand the trials of heating solely with wood. It is not a job for the faint of heart or for those who enjoy uninterrupted nights of sleep.

I don’t feel very thankful for my wood stove most of the time. Actually, I have a love/hate (mostly hate) relationship with the old black stove. It’s an older well-seasoned model, rather ugly in appearance (unlike the cuter potbelly models) and the handle doesn’t open easily; I often have to whack it with a chunk of wood to get it to budge. I’ve jokingly compared the old black stove to a newborn baby, because of having to “feed” it so frequently and often having to get up at night to check on it.

I have several justifiable reasons for hating the old stove. Keeping enough firewood cut, split, and stacked to last the entire winter is a full time job in itself. Getting the stove to light can be a challenge at times also, as it can be rather stubborn to get started. At times, especially on windy days that cause a downdraft in the chimney, it gets a contrary fit and smolders, filling the house with a hazy wood smoke stench. Burnt fingers and wood splinters don't help to instill feelings of fondness either.

The stove becomes my obsession during the winter months. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, “Is the stove out?” It’s the last thing on my mind at night before I go to bed, “I better bank the stove up for the night.” When I go away I worry about it, “I wonder if the stove is out…I hope it s not smoking…I hope the house doesn’t burn down.” It’s the first thing I run to when I arrive home after being out, “Better check the stove!” Each morning I run down the steps praying to open the door and see at least a few smoldering coals, often being greeted instead with gray ashes glaring at me, meaning once again I have to re-light the stove. This same scenario is repeated if for some reason I have to leave the house for more than a few hours during the day.

I’ve tried to develop an attitude of thankfulness about my old stove. To its credit, it does provide a wonderful warm heat unlike any other kind of heat. Since I work from home, I’m able to look after the stove during the day. Wood heat is an extremely warm and consistent heat, and I’m thankful that I have a home to heat. Like a home cooked meal simmering on the stove, heat makes a home cozy and inviting on blustery days. It’s also inexpensive and saves hundreds of dollars each year that would be spent on purchasing oil or paying higher winter electric bills. It provides a good exercise workout. I get upper body strengthening each time I have to whack open the door. Since the stove is down on the basement level of our home, I do a lot of stair-stepping in the cold months. In a sense I have my own home fitness circuit complete with strength training and aerobic workouts, all for free!

God’s word says we are to be thankful and give thanks for all things, and I guess that includes my ugly old wood stove. As with anything in life, we can either choose to look at the positive side or to dwell on the negative. We truly do have so much to be thankful for each day and many reasons to praise God for the abundance of blessings we enjoy, regardless of the circumstances surrounding us. My mom used to say, “Don’t ever complain, because someone somewhere always has it much worse.” I’ve found that to be true over the years. Many of the things we complain about are rather silly and foolish, just like my complaining attitude about the wood stove.

As the cold nights and chilly days become a reality once again, I pray that I’ll keep a thankful attitude and a grateful heart for the blessing of a warm home, and for the old black wood stove, as I once again, with hesitation, resume my seasonal role as the one who keeps the home fires burning.

Posted by Picasa

No comments:


blogger templates | Make Money Online