Refuge for the Weary

After my cancer diagnosis almost 3 years ago, I transformed at unused porch into my Oasis. The door faces the county road on which we live so I suppose you could call it our front door, however no one can see the door because of all the trees. There is no sidewalk to this side of the house so most people wouldn’t know it is here. Through the growing season it is hidden by trees and bushes such that you cannot see anyone sitting here as you drive up the lane. I painted the floor and added furniture, plants and solar lights to turn this into a place where I can always find solace. It is shaded so it is almost bearable even on the hottest days.

Heidi’s Oasis in Elliott

I’ve had other oases in my life.

Pipe Organ at Immanuel Lutheran Church (Flatville)

I began playing the organ at my church when I was 12. I played a whole service by myself when I was 13. I retired from that this year, after 39 years of playing. I don’t miss playing for worship at all. I do, however, miss practicing in darkened, empty sanctuaries. That was always an oasis for me. God and I have a direct line of communication in them as I play.

4-H House Cooperative Sorority at University of Illinois

In the fall of 1987 I enrolled in the University of Illinois. I was ill prepared for college socially and emotionally. I lived in a dorm with 2 roommates; one from Chicago (the actual city) and the other from a suburb of St Louis. These were big town girls. I was from a farm near a village of 350 people. Their high school graduating classes had more people in them than my hometown. I was naive. They took advantage of me and made me the butt of their jokes. It was very unpleasant. As a first-generation college student, I had to figure everything out on my own. Daily life was a struggle. Cell phones didn’t exist so I walked around campus with a fold up map a long time. Depression and anxiety set in and life was unbearable.

Toward the end of the first semester I happened upon an article about 4-H House and called the phone number. Soon I was meeting with a wonderful girl named Darcie who gave me a tour of the house and explained everything to me. I moved there at the start of my second semester and knew instantly that this was my oasis.

At 4-H House there was a big board with our names on tags. We flipped them as we left and back again when we returned home. Not only did my roommates care about me, the entire house of 55 girls cared. I had people to walk with to class. I had people to go with me to the bookstore. We sang, we cooked, we cleaned, we laughed, we cried, we loved together as a group and it had a huge impact on my life and still does to this day. I made life-long friends there. I learned more about life there than any other place.

Indie and I enjoying winter

I try to enjoy time on my Oasis most days. I can tell when I haven’t spent much time there, as my anxiety sky rockets.

Madi FINALLY asleep

Even my new lab puppy, Madi, is affected by my Oasis. It is a place I can sit with her and she can freely explore and play without being told, “No!,” constantly. She wears herself out and then she and I can both enjoy the peace.

I hope you can find your own oasis in the midst of your life.

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