Saturday, July 21, 2012

Losing My Childhood Home

I learned Thursday that the house I grew up in was struck by lightening during an early morning storm - and burned to the ground.

It's just beginning to sink in with me. It's a powerful attachment.   The house I call "home."

My mom and dad built that house in 1970.     I was 12 years old.      Until that year, our family moved around a lot.   My dad was just starting his own business.    We didn't have a lot of money - and my only experience with "home" was the rental houses I shared with my parents and three brothers.

Building that house in 1970 was a big deal for my family.   We were finally putting down roots - and it felt really good.    We were moving "back home" - closer to family.     Closer to my grandparents.   Closer to all my cousins and friends at church.    At the foot of Ceasar's Head Mountain and minutes from Table Rock.    It was a great place to grow up.

It's strange what you remember about the house you grow up in.     I remember the sinks! For the very first time, I had my own bathroom -- with a cool brown sink.    There were double avocado green sinks in the kitchen, a bright red sink in the boy's bathroom and a lovely blue sink in my parent's bathroom.   Wow!  Sink memories!

My dad installed the mantel over our fireplace upside down - and never changed it.  The smooth side faced down and the uneven - rough side faced up.  When my mom put candles or decorations out during holidays, they never sat level.    My mom had a sewing room, but all of our meals were shared in the kitchen around a table she's still managed to hang on to all these years later.   We had classic 70's "wagon wheel" light fixtures hanging in the family room and classic green shag carpet.

That family room is where I had prom and high school graduation pictures taken.   It's where I beat my brothers leg wrestling, opened Christmas presents and watched hours of Miami Dolphin football.  Over the years in that house, I baked cakes with my cousin, Karen,  took long walks with my best friend, Myra and dreamed about what my life would be like when I got older.   I listened to the Carpenters and John Denver in that house - and a very young Michael Jackson.    And yes, even though it's tragically similar to Miranda Lambert's song,  my favorite dog is buried in the yard there too.   His name carved into an old tree stump.   Sweet, Jake.

In the driveway of that house, I had many a good night kiss with this young kid from Dacusville, who drove his mama's Cadillac when he came to take me out.   I loaded down my car and left for college in that driveway - striking out on my own for the first time.    Family and friends showered me and Scott with bird seed in the driveway of that house as we left our wedding reception to start our life together.

Lots of happy memories.    And, to be real.    Some very sad ones too.    That's just living.

I've been reminded of a very important truth over the last few days.     Nothing in this life lasts forever.   While I want to live out my life loving and caring for people, especially my family - and while I want to live out my purpose in this world - the purpose God has called me to do, it's best to keep a very "light" hold on this world.   We are just passing through.

"For this world is not our permanent home, we are looking forward to a home yet to come."   Hebrews 13:14.

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