How many different houses did you live in as a child? I lived in one. Only one. For all 18 years of my childhood. That’s probably pretty rare for the average person.
|this picture was drawn by a friend of mine from a photograph.|
In the first two years of our marriage we lived in 5 different houses. Wow. We slowed down our nomadic tendencies pretty quickly after the first two years.
And now, with retirement coming up in the next year or so, we ponder what it would be like to live in our 5th wheel. Traveling here and there, true nomad style.
The jury is still out on whether or not we’ll actually follow through with the RV lifestyle. We love to camp, we love to travel.
But there’s just something about home. Sticks and bricks. Lawn and garden.
Over the years I’ve come to believe that when you’ve lived in the same home for a few years it becomes a part of the family. As if it has its own personality. Perhaps the walls have listened to the happy laughter, heard the sad crying, seen the tears and smiles and absorbed it all in some magical permanent way.
The first fifteen or so years of Mom and Dad’s life were spent living on maybe 80 (?) acres in a little house close to a creek. With their three girls. Several years before I was born. Tiny little very modest house. Though I never lived in this house, my mother’s reactions when she spoke of this home made it quite evident that her heart would always remain on the little farm north of Niles. She would tell countless stories of the independent, self-sufficient ways of living on your own land. Chickens for eggs and poultry to eat, fresh vegetables from her garden, milk from their cow and fresh beef when they butchered, water from their well. And a little bit of wheat to sell for everything else they needed. To listen to her talk, they had it all. When I listened to her I honestly missed a place I’d never lived, probably never even stepped inside the door of the house. You could hear a wistful nostalgic longing for the farm in her voice. She missed living on that farm from the day they moved to town until the day she died.
If I want to make my sister Sharon happy all I need to do is take her for a drive to the old farm north of Niles. Her best years were there. When being forever a little girl was okay. No pressure to be something she wouldn’t, couldn’t be. And no pressure for my mother, either, in regards to her little girl who would forever be a little girl. The house has been gone for years, no sign at all of where it was. But on our drives to the country we stop the car and Sharon can tell me about the location of the house, barn, outhouse. As well as many stories of life there. Memories. Home. Sometimes we get out and walk across the bridge over the creek. Coal Creek. Sometimes we walk up into the area where the house and buildings once stood. Though I never lived there, when I’m walking on that land with Sharon I can find myself shedding a tear thinking about the life that was once there. It feels like if I looked and listened closely enough I might actually see and hear the past, my young mom and dad, my little girl sisters…. the “good old days”.
Oh the power of Home.
The house in the picture above? The “house that built me”? Eighteen years of my life. Good times. Not so good times. A few downright awful times. Life. Sitting in lawn chairs in the front yard with my dad after supper. Drinking iced tea and watching cars drive by. Throwing a softball back and forth while he taught me how to hold the glove correctly. Happy little memories, simple times. Very simple times.
My favorite memory of that home is the last few months of Mom’s life. Walking in the back door and finding her in the recliner doing a crossword puzzle while watching Murder She Wrote, or some other TV mystery show. The minute she looked up and saw that I had walked through the back door, though, her face would light up with a smile. I was home. Comfortably loved. Welcomed with open arms. No other feeling like being home.
I like to look at that picture and remember home, but these days I’m homesick for a place that I’ve never been. A place that each one of us can call home forever. Heaven. Life is good, don’t get me wrong. But it can’t compare with the promise: “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Rev 21:4.
Comfortably loved. Welcomed with open arms. Forever.
For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come…. Heb 13:14