It’s been thirty years since I’ve lived here. But it still feels like home. I’d recognize the smell of my old bedroom with my eyes closed. Mom’s 130 year-old house is covered by a canopy of trees. The sounds of the green leaves being shaken by the wind is such a wonderful, peaceful noise. No light pollution exists in this part of the country. The nighttime sky is littered with more stars than could ever be counted.
I need to come back for a reason other than a funeral sometime. I’m getting to know the funeral director a little too well. A few months or so ago it was a friend of the family. This time it was my Uncle Gary. He was a good man. Fair and funny. A fisherman and a gardener.
At the cemetery I had the family and friends gathered share a word or two about Uncle Gary. The words were more nourishing than the breeze that cooled the warm, humid air. Some were serious. Some were playful. All were true. Another uncle told a story about Gary. We all laughed. At the end of our days our lives will be described by words and stories. Make them good ones.
I drove by Gary’s house. Decided to stop and walk around. The asparagus was shooting through the black, northwest Iowa dirt. Somebody should really cut it and sauté it in butter for three or four minutes. The fern peony plant is as abundant as ever. The best we can tell this plant is around 80 years old.
I drove by a former teacher’s house this morning on my way to wash my car. I always wash my car before a funeral with a burial. I remember a former teacher was grilling some steaks with a friend on his back patio. A buddy and I decided to play a joke. Just as the steaks were about the finish we replaced them with hot dogs. Took the steaks back to the buddy’s house and enjoyed every bite of them. Don’t know if the teacher enjoyed the hot dogs or not.
Home is where you are welcome. It’s where you feel safe. It’s where your people are. It’s where your stories happened. There is no place quite like it.
Jesus talks about another sort of home altogether. He talks about his Father’s house having many rooms and that He is going there to prepare a place for us so that we can be where he is. The Scriptures are pretty stingy with much more detail about our heavenly home. Paul says we will see Jesus face to face. Revelation says it is a place where crying and sadness and pain are no more. A place where God will wipe all the tears from our eyes. Sounds pretty cool to me.
It’s Memorial Day weekend. We get to remember those who have gone before us and now dwell in their heavenly home. Take a moment and remember well.