Yesterday evening I spent almost an hour just sitting on my back porch. What is a back porch.
Very few people know what a porch is, much less a back porch or even a yard. More of the population in the USA is located in urban areas than suburban or rural.
Because of this concentration of people there is less land to dedicate to nonessential structures. Porches fall into the nonessential category. Since nonessential structures are limited, even more so are things such as backyards
When I grew up
I grew up in a small community where everybody had at least a front porch and many a back porch. As I grew up I saw the porches disappear from newer houses but yards still remained a necessity. Those yards provided extra spending money for me up through my high school years. I had four or five neighbor’s yards that I mowed regularly during the summer.
As urbanization continued houses grew bigger and yards grew smaller. One can understand why porches began to disappear from houses. If there is no yard, that means that one house ends where another begins. When that happens, porches also disappear. What good is looking at your neighbors brick wall while drinking your morning coffee.
Now, we are in the 21st century and I have lived in several houses and locations. We began as a young married couple in an apartment. It was a quadplex. So, there was no porch and no yard. In the Army, for a while, we lived in a semi-rural area. Since the Army post was located in a rural area, all the rental houses were rural. This was nice. Before long we were afforded the opportunity to live in a suburban type of small town. This was Americana to the core. We enjoyed a wonderful size yard but no real porch.
After the Army we moved on to graduate school. We were located in a large city with multiple areas to choose from. Here we rented a house with a decent size yard. It was of such a size that I could mow it in 30 minutes with a push mower. However, it did not have a porch. The yard was big enough for my son and his friends to romp and play in.
My working life
After graduate school we progressed from apartment to suburban subdivision to semi-rural acreage and back to the suburbs. Only one of those had a porch(patio) and a yard.
An offer I could not refuse
Then, twenty years ago, a loving uncle made me an offer I could not refuse. He had 2 ½ acres adjacent to his house that he was no longer able to maintain. Uncle Leonard was not my blood kin but was my uncle-in-law(my wife’s uncle). But I had always considered him my uncle.
Uncle Leonard was getting on in age and he did not want just anybody for a neighbor. The land that Uncle Leonard was offering me was a 2 ½ acre plot at the end of the road. The area is suburban but almost rural. The plot of land is bounded on two sides by a non-flowing bayou. The other side is bounded by a great neighbor who owns a 5-acre pond and two acres of land for his house.
I built my house so that the back faces the oxbow in the bayou and the pastures across. There is nothing but pasture and woodlands across the bayou. The owner of that land is a cattleman whose family has been in the business for almost a hundred years. The only interference we may hear will be the lowing of the cattle occasionally.
The design of the house I built is that of a farmhouse. Since I have 2 ½ acres I was able to locate it with plenty of distance from any other houses. It has three porches. There is one on the front(40 feet long) and two on the back(separated by a breakfast nook). Each is about 14’ long.
I have gone through all this to come to this point. We were not created to be surrounded by walls and concrete. If we had been then our Creator would have let us complete the tower in the plains of Shinar. He did not allow that because He created a beautiful world for us to enjoy with Him.
He placed Adam and Eve in a garden. It was a garden of unimaginable beauty.
We messed up, we sinned
Our ancestors messed it up by thinking they knew more than their Creator. They were wrong. But we continue to make the same mistakes, thinking we know more than He knows. Just as they did at Babel, we keep crowding closer and closer together. As we do this, we find ourselves becoming less civil and more belligerent toward one another.
The answer that we really seek is found in the word of God, the Bible.
This is what it says in Isaiah 30.
Isaiah 30:15 (KJV)
15 For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.
As I enjoy the beauty of God’s creation, I have found that His peace and joy fills my life. Of course, this is mixed with the constant filling up on His Word.
In spite of all the strife in this world, there is peace on my back porch every morning and evening. I would encourage you to find your back porch where you can be alone with your Creator. For only in Him will you find purpose and peace in your life. All other things lead only to turmoil and unrest.
Hebrews 4:9 (KJV)
9 There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God.
God has promised a rest to His people. But it must be appropriated. If we never stop, we will never experience the peace and the joy that He has made available to us. He has already paid the price and secured the peace. Now, it is time for us to relax and enjoy Him and His creation. I invite you to join me on my back porch and commune with your Creator.
God bless you and give you peace. AMEN!