Our family's been out of town for a few days, taking a little time to just be "us" at our favorite mountain town. We were so honored to be offered a house to stay at (all 7 of us!), free of charge. We don't know the owner of the house personally, but we were told he had lost his wife, but was now re-married, and thus--the second home. What a blessing to be gifted with time away as a family.
You can learn a lot about someone by the books he reads and the photos on his walls. The house tells the story of a man of faith, a man with loving children and sweet grandchildren who are now teenagers. The pictures and decor speak of a life that has known the faithful love of a woman's touch, and the rich heritage of multi-generations. This is a home that values experiences and relationships over perfection and advancement. In this home, comfort lies in the extra soft linens that have welcomed many a weary head...and not in technology (no internet, cable, or even a colored tv!) Instead of being "plugged in," our time was spent outdoors, sipping on tea, and telling stories (The Preacher is an amazing story-teller!)
And yet, as I looked at the smiling faces of photos from decades gone by, I couldn't help but consider the loss this family's endured--the loss of a mother, a loving wife, a tender grandmother. Every home has a story to tell--all could speak of love and loss, trials and victory, joy and suffering.
I wonder what my home speaks of? as it is now? as it will be in years to come?
The start of the holiday season has a fascinating way of bringing all our memories, year after year, to the forefront of our minds. It's almost like we experience a virtual scrapbook of our lives, or at least of the past year, as we celebrate and ring in the new. Whether we are deliberate about it or not, we are building something in each of our families--we are building memories, building a home, building the testimony of a life lived either for God, or for ourselves.
I can't say I really know the owner of this charming house we've been guests of, but I can say that it has left us an impression of love, of family, of hope in God, of pressing on, of living forward while giving thanks for the past.
May your Thanksgiving be a time of that kind of home-building.