I grew up in the land of porches. They were very common in South Carolina and Georgia.
There were front porches, side porches, and back porches. My grandparents’ house in Rincon, Georgia had a porch on every side of the house. It also had a porch on the second story.
Porches were an open invitation for friends and relatives to come and sit a spell, swap opinions on the limited world they knew about and philosophize a bit about Heaven and what we might have to do before we got there.
Porches were a place to sit and remember those who once sat on the porch with us, but now knew the up to the minute scoop on Heaven.
It was hot in the summers, but even after the coming of air conditioning, it didn’t stop the porch gathering. People needed the warmth of each other more than they needed the cool of treated air.
People got out their funeral home fans and fanned with one hand while sipping their sweet tea with the other. And whoever claimed the porch swing first got the benefit of an extra breeze from swinging.
Porches sometimes were places of reconciliation. My maternal grandparents ran a lumber mill. One of their friends got miffed about some business transaction and stopped speaking to them.
He passed their house each morning on his daily walk. He always looked the other way as he passed.
My grandmother sat on the front porch and remained unceasingly friendly, calling out each day, “Good morning, Mr. Smith!” He continued his silent pout and never spoke.
One morning, a pop up rain storm left him slogging past, drenched to the bone. My grandmother called her usual greeting, adding, “Would you like to come and sit awhile til the rain passes?”
He thought for a moment, and said, “I believe I will, Miss Nellie.” He came and they sat on the porch. By the time the storm cleared, their personal storm had passed too. They had frequent porch visits after that.
We live in a neighborhood where many people have porches. We have a wrap around front porch, a deck we call the back porch and a covered patio we call our lower porch.
In this time of pandemic, it has been comforting to sit on the front porch and talk to our neighbors at a social distance.
Sometimes we call to each other from our porches. It is our way of saying, “You are not alone. We are here for you.”
As they have always been, porches are a gateway to sharing life. That being said, I think I’ll go sit on the porch. It’s raining and it is the perfect spot to listen to the rain and smell the freshness that says spring is on the way!
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for The Glory of God!