This number has meant something to me my entire life. Fifty-four years ago my parents built their first and only home in Jackson, Mississippi. The address: 915 Oleander. Our parents came from relatively poor families, through the depression and through the war and this first house was quite an accomplishment for Jack and Sarah. It was our safe house, our gathering spot, our place of reunion, and our home of plenty.
For the last few weeks, the children of Jack and Sarah have been cleaning out and packing up fifty-four years of life at 915. We found Barbie dolls, army trunks, house plans, pictures upon pictures, crystal bowls, china, tupperware and Hallmark cards galore! It seems my mama saved every hand-written note she ever received. Beautiful words she treasured. But above every piece of memory there was stuff stuff and more stuff!
This week, I went back to a practically empty 915…just me, alone. I was anxious and thinking about how the void in this house would strike me. And then I opened the back door and stepped through….if I had been blindfolded I could have detected that I was in my mama’s house. It’s the smell, the smell that told me I was home. I could practically see mama in the kitchen and daddy in his recliner. I could see family seated around the big table at Christmas, I could see growing up here.
It was a home filled with so much laughter as well as so many tears. A home filled with amazingly wonderful food and cups of coffee. A home where marriages were celebrated, engagements announced and death realized. It was every bit a family-focused routine life. It was not the most expensive home in the neighborhood, or the most modern but it was just simply home.
It was in the empty house that I found my heart last week. Perhaps the house had to be emptied before it could be filled with the memories I hold so dear. Perhaps the clutter and the job of cleaning out had overshadowed the significance of 915. But in the emptiness I saw the home of my heart.
So be it in my own life and heart, Lord. Empty my mind of the clutter. Empty my over busy life, Lord. Let me pour out my extremely over-active-to-do-list life SO THAT you can fill me with the thoughts, memories, plans, hopes and dreams you have FOR me.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15