Our house is just a couple years shy of its centennial.

be supportive like floorboards

Misoprostol prescription cost The floorboards of my home have supported countless steps for nearly a century.

What I love most about our house are its floors, which are for the most part original to the home.  Sturdy as they are, the boards are swayed in places, especially in the living room, which has supported nearly a century residents and guests that have made their way from the front door to the kitchen and back again.  Most of the people who have traipsed across our floorboards have passed from this world.  I frequently think about all the steps that did the work of swaying those boards: mothers who paced the floor with their sleepless infants; children running breathlessly from the front door to the kitchen to show their parents a straight “A” report card; men who walked through that same door only to collapse in exhaustion on the couch during the Great Depression.  I imagine joyful steps, mournful steps, tentative steps, and baby steps – which over the years have created enough of a dip in the floorboards that if you drop a marble on my living room floor, it will roll back in forth across the room for several seconds before finally settling in at the lowest point in the center of the room.

I also think about the boards themselves, which are bent and dimpled and in some places even splintered.  These boards that have upheld the countless footsteps of people I never knew.  These boards that have carried people through illnesses and recoveries.  Crises and celebrations.  Births and deaths.  These boards that have held up stoves that have cooked nourishing meals, chairs where people sat for hours engrossed in deep conversations and wiping away tears of laughter, and beds that have provided rest to the weary.

Nearly a century ago, the first owner of this house must have walked through the front door with a heart full of hope for the future and stood in smiling admiration at the gleaming amber finish on its newly laid floors.  But even before that person could have smiled in pleasure and pride at this pristine and welcoming new surface, these boards were cut to size and laid across joists by carpenters.  They were sanded and polished by craftsmen.  And before that they were carried from a mill by a cart driver who patted his horses and fed them oats when they pulled up in front of the property that is now our home.  Prior to their transport, they were sawed into boards at a mill where millworkers labored lifting heavy logs onto powerful machinery. And even before the wood was lumber, it was a noble old oak tree that was discovered by lumberjacks:  lumberjacks who walked around and around that tree, patted it thoughtfully, and then nodded to one another that this tree was just right and ready to give its life to become part of a home.

And perhaps one hundred years before those lumberjacks arrived in the forest, that tree was a seed that was dropped on fertile ground by a squirrel that dashed heedlessly across its great limbs. And then that seed took root where it lay, watered by spring rains, until it gathered enough energy to finally stretch its tender leaves toward the sunlight.

Some evenings when it is quiet and my children are asleep, I walk downstairs to the kitchen to get a glass of water that is dispensed from a refrigerator that is a miracle of technology that would have been unimaginable to the first residents of this home.  I walk across these boards, feeling their sturdiness under my bare feet.  I look at the imperfections in their surfaces that are a result of a hundred years of footsteps like my own.  I think about those people who made those steps.  I think about their dreams and their disappointments.  And I think of how those dreams must have created lighthearted, quick steps and how those disappointments must have created heavy, slow steps.  And I can see clearly that all these dreams and disappointments had made their impressions on these boards and now reside in deep within their grain.

I also think of the people who laid these boards on the joists.  I think of the people who sanded and polished them. The people who sawed them at the mill and carried them on carts.  The people who found the tree in the forest and chopped it down.  And I think of the seed that would give birth to the tree.  The  rich earth that enveloped it.  The rain that watered it.  The sunshine that touched it and encouraged it to grow.

All of these things – from the sunshine that touched a seed two centuries ago, to the people who crafted this house, to the people who lived out their lives in this home – are now a part of every board.  And as they uphold my own steps, they all become a part of me, and I with each step I carry them forward.

I have a wish.  An intention.  When I am gone from this world, let me be like these old boards.  Let me live my life in such a way that even when I am nothing but a vague impression of a memory — a dimple, a sway, a small crack in the surface of lives unknown to me — I will be there uphold the steps of others.  Let me be there to tenderly uphold the tired steps of mothers who pace the floors in the late hours with crying babies. Let me rise to uphold the celebratory steps of children as they race home and crash through the front door to show off a well-deserved, straight “A” report card.  Let me be the strength that upholds the steps of those who come to the end of their day with little hope and give them a place to find rest and ease – and reason to hope again.  Let me be there for all of them. Let me become a part of who they are.  Let my joy be heard through their laughter and my love through their words of comfort and encouragement.

And though they may never know who I am, or even that I am there, let me be like that first ray of sunshine that touched that seed in the forest that gave birth to my home – giving light to life and smiling deep from within it still.