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Explore the room you’re in as if you’re seeing it for the first time. Pretend you know nothing. What do you see? Who is the person who lives there?

The room is messy, but has energy in it. Potential energy. All is quiet now for I am the only person in the room.

I see six Christmas stockings hung over the fireplace, and one tiny sock, white trimmed in pink. Six people celebrated Christmas and someone tiny, so young that there was not time to get a seventh stocking. Beside the fireplace is a small stable with colorful figures in it, the wise men getting close to their destination. The figurines are unbreakable — and another, a Fisher-Price nativity set, tells me that children are encouraged to play with the actors in the long ago tale of the birth of Christ. This is a family who keeps Christ foremost in Christmas.

Pink footed pajamas on a footstool tell me a little girl lives here. So do the pink mini-stroller and the blond hair doll currently laying face-down on the floor, momentarily forgotten.

Children’s books are piled on the table beside me in a variety of reading levels. That makes sense; some, like the two “I Survived” books with a boy as the main character, suggest that a reader lives here, probably a little boy who’s 8 or 9. The well-worn Richard Scarry book, Things That Go, leads me to believe there’s at least one other little boy in the family. Who else would be so fascinated by the crazy machines Scarry dreams up!

The piano is covered with music opened for playing. But these are not children’s songs; an adult must play the instrument. A guitar is propped up against the wall; does the same person play both, are is someone else interested in music, too?

One lone cushion on the floor makes me think it’s been thrown — kids do that rather gleefully, so they’re active, normal children. I can imagine their laughter and running feet in the stillness of the house.

Lastly, I see a brochure on the floor; on closer inspection, it is an instruction booklet for building a Lego set — not an unusual interest for boys.

The room is messy, but it echoes a happy family living normally, comfortable with the day-to-day, minute-to-minute mess children can make enjoying themselves in a home where music, laughter, and prayer punctuate the current silence.

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