How many times we traveled the miles separating my Mother and me, to go home and see my parents. Our children still remember the visits to Grandpa and Grandma’s house. The house where we all were loved unconditionally and encouraged by the two people who shared their lives with us.
Now there is no place to go ‘home.’ We remember many years when we celebrated Mother’s birthday on July the Fourth. We enjoyed family time that meant laughter, love, food, and joy.
Grandpa managed the grill outside, and hamburgers were usually on the menu. And we all knew what was coming. Mother created a recipe for Peppermint Ice Cream. She made the pudding and put it together in the freezer. Our three sons took turns, sitting on the ice cream freezer while one turned the handle until it wouldn’t ‘go.’ When Mother removed the ‘wing,’ we competed to see who would lick the ice cream from the ‘wing.’ Then came darkness and lighting the ‘Grandma-approved’ sparklers. One year, our son, Paul, grabbed the wrong end of the sparkler and burned his fingertips. What was his greatest fear? The inability to enjoy Grandma’s Peppermint Ice Cream.
I read Mother’s poem, ‘Coming Home,’ and remembered the photos she sent us of the wonders they saw while traveling. My brothers and I gave them ample reason to visit as we lived from Oklahoma to California, Utah, to Illinois. My parents crisscrossed the land, and yet what enticed their longing most remained the ultimate destination – Home!
Even though traveling revealed God’s creation of mountain peaks and oceans, rivers and trees that lifted their arms in worship, Mother longed for Home. They witnessed the tall buildings and huge bridges spanning bodies of water. They saw deserts, sod houses, and stately Cathedrals. All the unfathomable wonders built by men brought joy.
The night before Dad went to the hospital for the last time, they talked about their life together and all they had seen, learned and loved. They knew their life together would come to a close very soon. Dad remembered I Thessalonians 4:16 – For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. “When Jesus comes, look in the east, and you will see me,” Dad told Mother.
Mother taught me the song, “Goin’ Home.” As the years pass by, I understand why Mother loved this song. Going home, going home, I’m jus’ going home, Quiet like some still day I’m jus’ going home. It’s not far, yes close by, Through an open door. Work all done, care laid by, Going to fear no more. Mother’s there ‘specting me, Father’s waiting, too. (Dvorak/Fisher)
Colossians 3:1-3 – “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.”
My mind still catalogs the sights and sounds
Of this long journey – nature’s awesome scenes
That took my breath away. Cool rushing streams
rinsed weariness of spirit from my soul
And snow-capped peaks gave me an upward look.
I saw majestic trees dip thirsty roots
in murky Mississippi’s mud and watch
Blue skies turn angry deep with thunder’s roar.
I sifted people of all ages – young
and old, the shy and bold. I fell in love
With youngsters playing ball in city parks
And those who trudged down shady country lanes.
I measured all who served me at every stop –
The motley hosts at swanky inns or cheap motels
(if they but knew what tales their actions told)
And those who served me food across the land.
I traveled mountain passes engineered
In miracles; I crossed bridges – tall
and long, some low, some not too strong. I saw
Skyscrapers rise from asphalt city streets;
Cathedrals built to last a century.
I saw sod huts along a desert stretch
And ancient caves where Utes lived on a bluff.
I took mental pictures of each scene.
The journey has been long! I’m almost home
With vehicle worn out and spent through use.
Although my energy is low, my heart
Is full. My body aches but why complain.
God’s richest blessings have been mine this far.
In retrospect, I see how He designed
My pilgrim journey on this orb called earth.
A few more weary miles and I’ll be home.
Psalm 145:1-5 – “I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness. Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts; let them proclaim your power. I will meditate on your majestic, glorious splendor and your wonderful miracles.”