Standing Quiet in the Dark Night

Perhaps it was my tiredness that brought on the nostalgia. Or, maybe it was God. Either way, the memories flooded back like rain waters.

Looking at her house sometimes makes me sad. She deserves so much more. She deserves a beautiful house filled with beautiful things. She worked hard. She raised six kids. She is beautiful herself. The house, on the other hand, is a standing monument to hard work by a mans hands and also what time can do it. It’s weathered and old on the outside, each plank of the deck laid by her husband, nails tapped in by family members – even grandchildren. The house is strong, standing quiet in the dark night.

I can see in my mind Christmas lights outlining its roof. Suddenly, I am whirled back in time. I can see the doors and windows fogged up from the heat that accumulated from the kitchen and all the warm bodies that were laughing and telling stories inside. The smell of the best home cooked food you could imagine permeating each billow of steam that escapes as the front door is opened to welcome in more family. The laughter carries in the still darkness of night. The house holds each person inside, but lets the sounds of joy ring out into the neighborhood.

I smile. We were crowded, for sure. That little house probably sagged under the weight of so many people. But, it stood strong.

I can see inside the house, where many changes have occurred. They took down the bookshelf years ago. It was one of my favorite things. It held books and annuals that kept me interested for hours on rainy or cold days. I giggled at hairstyles and clothes, and wondered what and where the people were now. Readers Digest condensed books kept me preoccupied if it were going to be a long stay inside. Books on the old west and art were there to peak my interest and to show pieces of my families interests. The bookshelf was like a treasure trove and memory box all in one. I miss that old shelf.

My eyes linger on the covered deck. I used to sit outside on rainy days watch the rain fall. You could see each drop land on the corrugate green plastic roofing. I can hear the sound of raindrops pitter-pattering, like my heart racing while I await the chance to go play in the aftermath of the rainstorm. The green plastic roofing was replaced years ago, now it’s a shingled roof, not nearly as enthralling as the green plastic. Maybe it looks better, but for me, the memories of the green plastic is far more important than aesthetics.

The house is old. Inside and out. Each person raised in it is grown. It has seen many tears from mourning the loss of loved ones that it once provided shelter for. It has seen smiles and heard laughter of new life being brought into the world. It’s doors opened for such and it’s foundations stood strong under the additions. My children now gather there, looking through books and photo albums, running down the hills in the yard, enjoying the smells and taste of the foods that are cooked there. Perhaps one day they will look back with such fondness on this old house.

True, it’s not much to look at, but it’s strong. It was built to be so. A mans hands built it. His heart yearning for something of his own, something to provide shelter for his ever-growing family. I’m sure he did not know the tremendous weight it would one day bear.

Isn’t that how life is, though? We are born, and we yearn to achieve and succeed, and the responsibility we add to our lives makes us tired. We sag under pressure that we put on ourselves, and let’s be honest, we can look and feel worn out. But, GOD built us. He built us strong.  When the weight of this world begins to make us sag, we need only to look to our creator. He will renew us, he will strengthen us, he will surround us with love.

Matthew 7:24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

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