For Ever and Ever….. ??

Just Thinking….

I was folding laundry in the bedroom this morning, when our neighbor came over to bring the city newspaper. He and his wife are so kind as to share the paper with us. We moved to this home about 2 1/2 years ago, very grateful to find this nice of a home here that we could afford. And it has been a blessing to have good neighbors who share with us, who stop to talk, who look after our home when we are away.

Anyway, the neighbor said that the obituary for the man who sold us this house was in the paper. The Hubs and I looked at each other in shock.

Flashback to 2 1/2 years ago: We had been coming to this city almost every weekend to look for a house. Our house had sold (although we had started looking before it sold), and we had a time constraint on finding a new home. Frankly, it was discouraging. Nice homes, like we were used to, were out of our price range, and what we could afford were old, rundown, leaky, moldy, had poor layouts, no garages, small rooms, not enough space, in a bad area of town, etc.

The real estate guy told us he had another place to show us: a place that actually had not even come on the market yet, but he had wind of it soon being up for sale. We went through the house and were immediately sold. It was an older home in an older neighborhood, but everything in the neighborhood and in this home were well taken care of. There were things that needed to be done to the home, but we could get around to those in due time. The roomy layout flowed nicely, and it was comfy…. homey.

The agent explained that the husband was a professional who had been downsized. The stress from that had provoked a heart attack. So they needed to move. We entered negotiations about the house, and met the owners. They were very nice folks and we could tell that they had taken pride in the home. The sale was completed, and we all moved.

But they didn’t move too far: just across the street! That gave us a little more opportunity to meet them and talk. And then a job opportunity came up, and they moved again. That was the last I saw them…

…until the picture today with the obituary. I stared at the picture, with an unfolded T-shirt in my hands. I willed it to look like the former owner, and there were traces of the man I remember. He was so young…. much younger than Hubs and I. And despite the heart attack, he had seemed so active and vital….. and alive.

Stenciled above our bed are words that the previous owners had placed: “For Ever and Ever.” I began wondering about when they stenciled it there. Did they think about how it might not be for ever and ever? Did they talk about how short life is? About counting their days? Did they cuddle right below this stencil, talking about their dreams of growing old together?

I was sitting in the family room tonight. It is bitterly cold outside and we have a fire burning in the fireplace. I remember the previous owners being proud of that fireplace, and Hubs and I have been oh so grateful for it. I wondered: Did the previous owner stare into the flames, thanking God for the beauty and warmth? I looked out the window to the backyard, the deck, the bird bath that they left here. Did he enjoy that view as much as we do? There is a little pantry door in the kitchen. Did he ever open it and grab a snack, like we do? Did he wander into the sunroom with a cup of coffee and enjoy the early morning, like I do? Did he ever linger by the front door, enjoying the lake view across the street, like we do?

I had a sudden urgent appreciation for this new home, and am sorry that I did not appreciate it as much as I should have when we moved here. My rhythms of life are being established here now; it feels like home. I’ve memorized the light switches, know the number of steps from the bed to the bathroom. I know what time the neighbor’s yard light comes on in the evening. I’m on speaking terms with the sump pump and its periodic groan.

When I am gone from here, will a new owner sit in the window seat and watch the maple tree sway lazily in the summer wind? Will the new owners be mesmerized by the fire? Will “For Ever and Ever” still be stenciled on the bedroom wall? Will they walk in the same rhythms?

Oh Father! Life is so short! I can’t help but pray for the wife tonight, who knows that for ever and ever is broken here on earth. Let her find Your comfort. Please give me awareness of life, the beauty of life, the shortness of life, the sacredness of life. Let me make the most of my days, for Your sake. Amen.

To God be the Glory…..

Published in: on February 11, 2012 at 6:52 am  Leave a Comment  
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