filling my heart

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I had a friend of mine – a fellow history geek – take this photo today.

It’s a picture of me standing in one of my very favorite places: the back porch (or piazza) of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate.

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I love the piazza for several reasons… Being an admitted history geek, I think it is fascinating to walk in the places where people from the past walked. Moving through their spaces…the locations important to them, their lives, and their accomplishments…makes history seem so much more real.

I also love the piazza because I had the very wonderful opportunity several years ago to spend a week living on the grounds of Mount Vernon as part of the George Washington Teachers’ Institute. In the evenings, after the regular visitors to the estate had gone home and the gate had been locked, I got to wander around, imagining what it would be like to be there when General Washington was still alive.

The piazza was my favorite place to settle in and dream. Watching the colors of sunset play out on the lawn as the Potomac River flowed by was restoring and captivating. It caused the expanse of porch and row of chairs to become permanently fixed in my mind and heart as some place special.

When we arrived at Mount Vernon this morning, I made a beeline to the back of the manor house as quickly as I could and found myself a seat. It was wonderful.

Almost.

If you look at the photo at the top of the post, you’ll notice a large empty space on the left side. The space is the problem…it’s blank. It needs something to fill it…to make the photo complete.

Correction: it needs SOMEONE to fill it…to make the photo complete.

This week, I have been in Washington DC and the surrounding area as part of an American History teaching grant. It has been remarkable and has, to a large degree, fed my history geek soul. It’s done something else, however. It has underscored how much better life is when I am with the woman I love. Every location I’ve explored…every vista I’ve viewed…my heart has known that – no matter how profound – it would be more perfect if I were able to share it with the person who shares my heart.

As I look at the place life has brought me and the significant milestones I have recently passed I am consistently struck by the beauty and blessing of knowing that God has brought joy back into my life. He has, for some reason unknown to me, seen fit to open up my heart and mesh it with another who loves me in return.

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Sitting on the piazza, I imagined how wonderful it would be to have my love sitting next to me…sharing the beauty of the scene in front of me. I looked forward to a time when such a thing might happen…when the only other history geek I’d be traveling with would be her.

Having a heart that is filled with love makes a world of difference. It takes the most wonderful things and makes them infinitely better.

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