We were driving through my old neck of the woods last weekend. My friend was sitting in the passenger seat as I gave her the nickel tour down my memory lane.
Even though it is falling apart at the seams, I am proud of my hometown. I drove her past the little corner market where mom bought milk and pointed out the restaurant that made the best meatloaf sandwich in town.
Simplicity reigns in that no red-light town.
I lived on the same street until the day I married Brent. The foundation of who I am began on that dead end road.
But as my car inched closer to the turn up the street where a yellow bus took me everyday, nervousness set in. A lot of history sat at the top of that hill. And I had not driven it since we sold my grandmother’s house last year.
The past months allowed for romantic memories to settle deep. I was beginning to retain my sweetest memories only.
I learned to cook sitting in a swivel chair, watching mamaw fry chicken and roll biscuits. I played chinese checkers on avocado carpet most days after school. My sister and I hid Easter eggs in the back yard and stood beside the Dogwood for pictures. The two of us in pale dresses and big hats. I often climbed papaw’s cherry trees, eating the fruit as I watched mamaw hang clothes on the line.
I could go on. Such. Sweet. Memories. Oh, I loved our home. We took such pride in the house papaw built with his own two hands.
There was a voice in my heart telling me not to turn. And hindsight tells me now it wasn’t me being silly. It was the Lord. Trying to preserve my memories.
I shouldn’t have turned. But I did anyway.
Surely the new owners knew they had bought a precious jewel. A house to be proud of. And they would treat it as such.
But I rounded two small curves and headed up the hill where mamaw’s house came into sight… A yellow sign should have warned — Caution: Heart-Break Ahead.
I inched closer and saw the condition of my childhood home. I didn’t want to believe it.
Beater cars. Big dogs. Tall fences. High grass. Faded fake flowers stuffed in broken pots…
“Oh no, Elizabeth. I can’t look. I just can not look.”
“Don’t.” She said. “I’ll look. You drive.”
My stomach turning now at the image. So. Very. Sad.
I couldn’t get down that hill fast enough.
I pulled off the street onto the main highway. For the last time, I am sure.
I couldn’t speak. “I just need a minute.” I said to my friend. “So sorry.”
In wisdom she replied, “They may have ruined the house, but they can’t take your memories.”
That was it. She nailed it. Seeing the house in such a sad state was imposing upon my childhood memories.
I was having to fight for them.
But the Lord was quick. For in that moment, as I pulled out and headed back into the present, He gave me this…
And I had to say it out loud. So my heart would hear.
“Do not store up for your self treasures here earth, where rust and moth destroy and thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where rust and moth do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6:19-21
Oh, how temporal this world is. I must careful where I store my treasure.
Rust and moth destroy. Thieves break in. Beater cars pull in. Fences go up. And houses run down.
But there is one place the thief can not enter. A place that is sealed. For eternity.
It is protected by the blood of Christ. Sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph 4:30)
No fine print.
Today, I choose…
To remember mamaw’s clothesline and the cherries.
To remember the whistle of pressure cooking beans and the slap of a carport door telling me my mom’s work day was done.
To remember papaw’s garden and mamaw creaming corn.
To remember my sister and I unwrapping Christmas Eve presents under a tinsel tree.
To remember the back bedroom with my mama, petting her face as she lay sick with cancer.
To remember the sweet moment mamaw said goodbye to the house her husband built. Holding her hand as we drove away.
Today, I am choosing to remember that my home is not here. This life a quick stop to my real home.
A home that has been prepared for me. Not by the hands of my papaw, but by the bloody brow of another carpenter.
The nail pierced hands of my Jesus.
Reflect and Respond:
- Can I reminisce with you today? Share a sweet memory of your childhood.
- Let us take a moment to thank the Father for the home that is waiting for us with Him.
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God. Trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms….I am going there to prepare a place for you. John 14:1-2