"Well done, good and faithful servant....enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
Matthew 25:21 (KJV)
We have an old, child's rocking chair that is very weathered looking.
We bought it for Zach, when he was real small.
It has been through the mill...literally.
Besides all of the wear and tear
from our sweet, little toddler rocking in it on the porch
between Kevin and me,
it has taken a real beating over the years.
Our dogs chewed it in various places
while they were cutting their teeth.
They also enjoyed pulling and tearing and....
well....mutilating the webbing on the seat,
until there was an enormous hole....
where the webbing used to be.
One day, I decided to repurpose it into
something primitive looking.
I bought some flowers, planted them in a green plastic pot,
wedged the pot into the enormous hole in the seat of the chair,
hung a little rusty star on one corner and a little primitive welcome sign on the other,
stuck our little "welcoming squirrel" in front of it,
and there you have it....
something that says "I'm glad you're here" in the sweetest of ways
to the three of us as we walk up the driveway towards our front door.
We have another very weathered looking chair...
a wicker one....
also a victim of our teething dogs and their overzealous curiosity.
I threw an old, comforting looking quilt over it
that beckons "come and sit a spell"
each time we walk past it to go in the front door.
Beside the chair sits a neat, old, antique doll stroller
that my Uncle Orville bought for me at a yard sale.
Each time I look at it, I think about his thoughtfulness
and how special he is to me.
He knows I love old stuff.
I planted some vines and flowers in it,
and Kevin added a bird's nest
left by a mother bird in a hanging fern on the porch
earlier this summer.
There's really no place like home.
And nothing that says, "Welcome Home"
like our own personal things.....
things that have personal memories attached.
Things that mean something to us.
They may be old and worn
and may not mean a thing to someone else,
but they help make home the special place that it is....
just by sitting there....
to welcome us back.
I am a true homebody.
I don't like to leave home.
There is no where on earth I would rather stay...
Even though I love to travel,
and see and experience new things,
I am always very reluctant to leave home.
Because this is....
Home is a special place.
Its definition is very different for every one of us.
But the feeling in the heart is the same.
Returning to that place...
our own space,
is one of the best feelings in the world.
But, you know, no matter how precious and special your home is,
and no matter how safe and content it makes you feel,
are you sometimes filled with the sense that this is not really home?
I love this quote by CS Lewis.
“If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy,
the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
I think I know what he meant.
I love to read the 14th chapter of John.
It was one of Mom's favorite chapters.
Jesus said in verses 2 and 3,
"In My Father's house are many mansions:
if it were not so, I would have told you.
I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come again, and receive you unto myself;
that where I am, there ye may be also."
Mom used to tell me,
"None of us came here to stay always."
I always knew she was right.
I just didn't think she'd go when she did.
I always loved going to see her and Dad.
I always felt welcome...
and loved and wanted and needed.
They were always so glad to see me....
so thankful I was there.
They always welcomed me home.
Wherever they were, was home for me.
There is another home....
beyond this world....
a place so special that Jesus Himself is preparing it for
each and every one of us.
That's why we have that deep-down sense
that this is not all there is.
Sunday night, Kevin and I sang this song in church.
We found it on page 362 of Mom's old Evening Light Song book.
The words are still ringing in my ears.
"Heaven Holds All To Me"
Written by Tillit S. Teddlie
"Earth holds no treasures, but perish with using,
However precious they be;
Yet, there's a country to which I am going,
Heaven holds all to me.
Heaven holds all to me,
Brighter its glory will be;
Joy without measure, will be my treasure,
Heaven holds all to me.
(We both broke down on this verse...)
Out on the hills of that wonderful country,
Happy, contented, and free;
Loved ones are waiting and watching my coming,
Heaven holds all to me.
Why should I long for the world and its sorrows,
When in that home o'er the sea;
Millions are singing the wonderful story?
Heaven holds all to me."
It truly does.
As dear as home is to me here on this earth,
I know there is an even better home waiting...
the one Jesus is preparing.
The one where Mom and Dad are
"waiting and watching my coming".
I can just see both of them standing there....
peering through the gates every now and then...
hoping, longing, wishing I would be there....
walking towards the gates...
I can see Dad now, kind of pacing back and forth,
and I can hear his voice,
"Mom, is she here yet?
Did she make it?
I wonder what's keeping her so long.
I sure hope she doesn't give up the fight.
Do you see her yet?"
Oh, I don't know exactly what it is going to be like.
None of us do.
We all have our own ideas and opinions,
because in reality,
there aren't a lot of specifics about it
in the Bible.
Just glimpses and hints...
enough to make me know for certain
that I sure don't want to miss it.
Some think they are just resting over there...
in a place of complete peace, without a care....
without thought of the ones here on earth.
I like to think they really are waiting and watching my coming.
I like to think that when I make it,
they will both be there....
with open arms....
standing next to Jesus....
surrounded by the saints of all ages and a million singing angels....
saying, "Welcome home, Cheryl.
Welcome to your real home.
The one you never have to leave."
What a welcoming committee!
Yes, Heaven holds all to me....
now more than ever.