Life just keeps happening and this week it’s brought me to Collierville, Tennessee. Yesterday I drove past the house in which our little family lived and laughed and loved (and sometimes cried) for five years back in the 1990s. Wow! That means about 20 percent of all that’s happened in the lives of Caleb and Hannah happened while they lived there at 1106 Sweetie Lane.
Of course, I had to drive by twice, so that I could drink it in and get the full dose of motherly sap. There was the basketball goal still faithfully standing where my husband had planted it in concrete. That goal was the fulfillment of a promise made to one very sad 13-year-old when we told him we were moving to Collierville from Jasper, AL. That driveway basketball court was the site of lots of pavement pounding and swooshes and high-fives. I can still hear the dog yapping at the sound of the leather ball hitting the concrete, while kids and adults were yelling referee lingo at each other while neither “team” (usually Glenn vs. Caleb) was paying much attention to any called infractions. And the fence is still there… the one that Glenn built, himself, for Bud, the dog (as opposed to Bud, the man, for whom the dog was affectionately named)…the fence that certainly did not work at dog incarceration…at all! There’s a big tree in the front yard that was but a sapling, really, when we came to the place. We made pictures of Hannah’s first formal event there and we hid eggs all around that tree. The swing still hangs on the porch, too…the porch where we had birthday cake for Caleb’s 16th birthday and where he got his recording studio that produced so much music and Hannah’s Hundred’s and Apologetics CDs. Memory’s endorphins just lit up my world even though I never even stopped the car. I would feel funny stopping in the drive of someone else’s property.
Someone else. It made me a little sad for the someone else who lives there. If stereotypes are anywhere close when it comes to front porch furniture, retired people live there now. I don’t think the basketball goal is getting too much use these days. The sad, thing, though, is that they live in this house and they do not even know anything about it. They never heard the basketball or the choruses of Happy Birthday or the Hannah’s Hundred songs. They did not know Bud, the dog or Bud, the man, for that matter. They did not hear the piano scales, see the magic of Christmases or play games at our widow’s luncheons. How can they like living there?
You know where I am going. Life is so brief. Momentarily, as it were, you and I will not inhabit this planet anymore. The people who do may see signs occasionally of the former tenants of earth, but our successes and failures, dreams and goals, will mean little to them. They will be busy making their own memories and dreaming and working and playing and they will be unattached to us. The only thread that ties us to the next generation, really, is that they move into life as we move out. Things that meant much to us will mean little to them. Things for which we paid dearly will be of little value to them.
Spiritually speaking, though, it’s different. If the world stands, there will be Christians in the next generation. And those people will value the exact same things that are valuable to me. They will be working for the exact same goal for which I spent my life. They will love what I have loved and they will hate what I have hated. They will understand the significance of whatever spiritual legacy I leave behind. I like thinking about that. I like knowing that, even though the house on Sweetie Lane will be long gone, that my great-great-great grand-daughter will live in the same house that was my shelter through this life. I really like that. For that to happen, though, I need to organize and endow a spiritual preservation society. I plan to give 100% of my energies to insuring that my children and their children walk in the ways of the Lord. Glenn and I have already told them that it’s not enough to raise your kids to be faithful. You’ve got to make them pledge to do their dead-level best to make their kids pledge to do their dead-level best to put faith in their children and grandchildren. The fervor for the next generation cannot cool, for, if it does, it’s ever so hard to bring a family back to faithfulness. Sin gets in the house and makes reconciliation with God, while still possible, a difficult and complicated process. Repentance is often painful. Sadly, most of the time, when families become unfaithful into two generations, they never come back and ensuing generations do not know God.
I do not know where this writing will be in a hundred years. Probably in some very large, but very small trash receptacle in cyberspace that only a computer detective could ever find, and, besides, who would want to find it? But, if, by chance, you, my great-great granddaughter are reading it, know that what I really valued was being in the house of the Lord. What I want, more than anything is for you and every family member in between you and me to have walked in the ways of the Lord, so we can all dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that do build it. Psalm 127:1