There’s no place like home. May the God of love and grace bless your home today. May His love live there always.
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.
Isaiah 32:18 – NIV
This week marks 32 years since the day the moving van rolled into the driveway loaded down with all our earthly belongings. Wow! For an old Army brat who moved 29 times in her first 18 years, 32 years in the same house is absolutely astounding!
It felt like I had looked at a zillion houses by the time the real estate agent and I pulled into the driveway in her battered 70s era green Plymouth Fury. I was immediately struck by the front porch with its high ceiling, black wooden shutters, tall white columns, and wrought iron railings. This was no ordinary brick rancher. It had character.
That character didn’t stop with the house, but flowed into the yard with its wealth of fully established trees and well seasoned shrubs. There were perennial flower beds with dogwood trees, even a spectacular rose garden. After life in a townhouse in the D.C. metro area, the 1.68 acre lot felt like a plantation!
We had put in a low bid offer on a recently constructed two story house in a new subdivision, but my mind kep coming back to this house. When our offer was declined, I knew it was a sign. I knew right then and there where we were supposed to go.
Eric was tied up at work so I set up another showing to confirm my gut feeling that this was the house. However, when the agent called to arrange it, the owners requested to remain at the house while I toured it. The idea made me a little uncomfortable, but learning that they were in their late 80s and didn’t have an easy place to go, I agreed. The situation was a bit unorthodox, but looking back, I think they were checking us out, hoping to see if we were the right people for their home.
Mr. & Mrs. Cooper were seated in the small bedroom that served as a study, remaining quiet while we walked through the other rooms. Finishing my tour with our agent, I paused at the bedroom doorway for introductions. It was subtle, but unmistakable. I was being interviewed.
I quickly warmed to this delightful elderly couple and soon learned a bit of their story. It turned out that Mr. Cooper was a retired Navy chaplain. Returning to their hometown after his retirement, they had built the house in 1963 on part of the property that had been Mr. Cooper’s family farm. He had spent his boyhood years in an old farmhouse just down the road. They had strong ties to this land. No small wonder they wanted the right family to find it.
Mr. & Mrs. Cooper had enjoyed many happy years in this house, but now, the property had become too much to manage. They were headed to a retirement facility in the mountains. One look into Mrs. Cooper’s moist eyes told me that this move was hard for her. She loved this place. They both did.
We must have passed the test because they readily accepted our offer. The real estate agent had shared our ideas for updates and renovations. The Cooper’s were so pleased, excited that a young couple would have the energy and enthusiasm to update and improve the place.
My heart broke just a bit at the closing when I saw the tears in their eyes. It was so hard for them to let the house go, so hard to walk away from the life they had made here. We promised we would take good care of the house, but the pained look on their faces nearly broke my heart. I can still see their bittersweet smiles as they bid us farewell.
The next morning, I found myself sitting on the brick steps of the front porch watching the sun peek over the treeline. Eric’s mom had come to help me paint what we could before the moving van arrived. Sitting there on the steps munching on my biscuit and sweet tea, I smiled, a feeling of peace settling on my shoulders. I felt it quite clearly. I had come home.
What makes a house a home? Is it the paint choices or the custom window treatments? Is it the granite countertops or the hardwood floors? No, what makes a house a home is the love within its walls. It is the laughter of friends gathered at the table. It is the pitter patter of tiny feet, the playtime giggles and bedtime prayers. It is the joy of a happy marriage, the beauty of a shared life.
There are 32 years of memories nestled within the walls of this house, times of joy, times of sorrow. A little boy grew to manhood here. A couple has grown older together, weathering the years in grace and love. We have made this house our home.
Mr. & Mrs. Cooper have long since gone to glory, but their touch remains here, . I can see Mrs. Cooper’s touch in the tiger lilies and peonies that push through the earth each spring. I can see Mr. Cooper’s imprint in the storage room, in the shelves that line the walls, in the worn string that trails down from the bare bulb in the ceiling.
I like to think that Mr. & Mrs. Cooper would like what we have done with the house and yard. They would love how the trees and shrubs still flourish. I can’t help but smile when I notice their lasting touches. They loved this place, and we have loved it too. It is home.
Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.
Proverbs 21:21 – NIV
O Dear Father, thank You for those who have gone before, those whose imprints remain on our hearts, whose words and deeds influenced us. O Lord, we give thanks for the beauty of our homes, for the love that lines the walls, for the memories shared, the lessons learned together. Let us treasure the gifts of family and friends, the people You have put in our path to lead and love us. May Your presence remain in our homes that we would serve You well all our days.