To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away... Eccles. 3:1,6
It's come down to this: a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away. Saying goodbye to Mom and Dad's home hasn't been easy. Many trips with the Blazer filled, sometimes to Goodwill and sometimes to my kids, and many times to my house. My sisters and I have had days filled with backaches and dusty, dirty clothes after bringing long forgotten memories from the attic in Dad's barn. I now have plenty of extra plates and dishes, toy tractors and an extra sweeper to boot. More pictures, more books and more memorabilia that made up the life of my parents. All just stuff, though, and will not bring back the man we called Dad or the times we spent there in the past.
The house is nearly empty, all the tractors hauled away and it's been almost one year since Dad fell in a hunting accident. So much work in one year's time, coming to the tough decision to move Mom to the home and breaking down the house took an emotional toll on all three of us.
There was something painfully beautiful about it, a place where you could sit and meditate on the wonders of God's creation. And yet the "time" has come...to let it go now.
Last night we had a bonfire and cookout with Mom's wonderful neighbors. We retired the flag from the flagpole and said our goodbyes to a tiny piece of heaven on earth. It hurt to look at the beauty of the country as I drove around up there and observe the rolling hills, the patches of farmland and hearing the sweet birdsong. But....but, this is still a fallen world. One look at the headlines and I know this is not Paradise, not yet. We have a better place to look forward to. Rocky Ridge in all its glory still had nasty invaders like stinkbugs, mice and spiders. It's time to move forward from a season of casting away and look to eternity.
"If only we could keep it in the family somehow," I still mused last night while gazing heavenward. But life does not promise us a piece of land or even ending the way we think it will.
That's OK, we have something so much better to look forward to.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. Hebrews 11:13-16
We're pilgrims passing through. We belong to a better country. A place where no corruption, no decay, no death and no more night will ever make us sigh again. We're headed for Eternal day and no need of the sun there for the Lamb of God will light the universe.
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. Ps. 37:25
As we say goodbye to memories, I realize I'm next. My kids will be deliberating on how to care for me, how to keep me safe. And yes, they will have to sort through my "stuff." I hope I can pare it down somehow, make their job a little easier.
I thought about the lyrics in the song "Hurt" by Trent Reznor, made famous in Johnny Cash's swansong video. It says "you can have it all, my empire of dirt..." I worked in the attic, and attempted to sweep over twenty years worth of the accumulation of dust. My fingernails became coated black with debris as we cleared out the last of the leftovers: tractor parts, tools, pictures and slides from the 50s and 60s.
Life is brief. All that's left is our "empire of dirt." That's what it comes down to. The only stuff I'll keep when it's time to pack my suitcase is God's Word inside. Everything else will be cast away.
Help me God. Let my daily prayer simply be: