The Echoes in These Halls | Saying Good-bye
"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:4
The Melody of the Past
Can you hear it? Lean in, close your eyes. The distant melody of the past is still playing, it hushes and swells with all the richness of life that one house has seen. Flowing on this river of sound come the voices of all who have graced these rooms. You can hear them laughing, loud uproarious Dawson-laugher, uncouth and full of warmth. Strain your ears, you will hear three brothers telling unbelievable stories from their unbelievable lives. You'll see their beautiful wives bustling around the kitchen, prepping salads and hefting bubbling lasagnas, all the while pooh-poohing the men and their ludicrous claims. But you'll see the twinkle and the love in their eyes. They chuckle and chide, float and serve. The home is happy to be filled with this new family, the land is fresh and fertile, the memories have just begun.
They're helping Grandma up the stairs and saying their prayers... the walls remember and they treasure it all.
Two little girls run and tumble and play and fight through the airy rooms, the plush blue carpet and the passing years. They scamper across the acre, catching lizards and helping Daddy in the garden. They play and read and dream until the sun sets all golden and pink on the variegated hills of Mt. Diablo. Now their pigtails are gone, their limbs are longer and their daydreams are dizzying. Pool parties and boyfriends, youth groups, make-up and tantrums. The bathroom door still wears the scars. Can you hear them whispering their secret crushes and unmentionable fears? Now they're singing that their hearts will go on at the top of their lungs. They're helping Grandma up the stairs and saying their prayers. They're making hot apple crisp with Mom. They're saying good-night to Dad in his cozy arm chair. And the walls remember. School projects, heartbreaks and fighting. The walls remember and they treasure it all.
The house is quieter now. The sun-soaked asphalt remembers long tearful embraces and over-loaded Corollas, lamps and luggage and thin, brown arms waving and fading out of sight. From time to time, the girls return, cars full of clutter and heads full of ideas and the home is bustling again. Swedish pancake aromas on slow Christmas mornings, parties, reunions, heads bowed in prayer, voices lifted in song. Evenings of worship on crisp winter nights and then airplanes returning everyone to their place. The rooms rest fallow again.
The lovers move and bustle across the land, their gait now slower, their goals simpler. They hold weathered hands and pray in earnest.
But the walls are happy in between. They settle into the rhythm of two kindred friends, poached eggs on Tuesday, long talks over coffee, one black, one full of cream. The old oak table listens as they reminisce, as they apologize for wrongs long-buried, as they plan two weddings, as they call grandkids far away. The bench out front carries them through the changing seasons. They talk and rest and plan. The lovers move and bustle across the land, their gait now slower, their goals simpler. They hold weathered hands and pray in earnest.
A New Adventure Begins
Time passes. The lemon tree yields its fruit year after year. The pool is filled in, but it's happy to surrender to the rich, clay earth and close its yawning mouth for it can hear the patter of tiny feet arriving. Fervent petitions have come to pass. Everyone is excited. The curtains shake out their dust, the blankets unfurl, the doors stand open and proud. Four tiny souls invade with all the energy and dirt and hugs they can give. A new adventure begins, a redemption of time and the broken parts of the past.
And Grandpa lets them in, into his shed of magical tools to yield a bookshelf or a birdhouse. . . Into his kitchen to eat tangy grapefruits . . . And into his soul, to be loved and delighted in ways he's never allowed before.
Little boys scamper through the halls, finding play and rest in the same room, under the same stars their mother hung so long ago. She watches them dream by the fading light of the phosphorescent glow. They sleep the slumber of those long separated, but now in reunited peace. They wake to explore the ancestral home, the nooks and crannies of land and abode and heart. And Grandpa lets them in, into his shed of magical tools to yield a bookshelf or a birdhouse. Into his kitchen to eat tangy grapefruits, raspberry pancakes and heaping spoonfuls of peanut butter, extra crunchy-- never smooth. And into his soul, to be loved and delighted in ways he's never allowed before. Pudgy hands stroking his wide, wrinkled arm, jammy lips stretching up to kiss him. Little bodies with baby blankets clambering into his lap for barrel hugs and animal shows. Waters spill and dinner plates break, noise and clutter assail him, but the old man is happy. And the walls are proud. And the Grandma drinks in all the joy of growth and reunification while tiny hands help her lay cookies down in neat rows.
Walls Steeped with Love
How do you say goodbye to the hallways that still reverberate with all the life and love and pain of a thousand days . . .
How do you say goodbye to the hallways that still reverberate with all the life and love and pain of a thousand days, imprinted on the bricks and mortar, the Pergo and the paint? These rooms remember how we worshipped, how we danced, how we sobbed. They are saturated with our sorrow. These floors held us up when the unthinkable came knocking. They supported us when all we could do was weep and grovel and ache. The glow of countless Christmas Eves still shines from these single pane windows, who never got replaced but did their best to shelter us anyway.
How do you say good-bye to the thick, living room carpet, now gently worn, but ever faithful to let babies learn to walk and mommies learn to pray? How do you say goodbye to the gardens that tutored you in caring and tending and silent reflection? How do you say goodbye to the last place you saw your father healthy and whole, the place where he learned to say 'I love you' and 'I'm sorry'? The place he held all his grand-children and let them deep into his heart?
In this big green barn . . . we felt the full gamut of joy and devastation in this glorious Ecclesiastical life.
I want to say thank you. I want the hallways to know that I'm grateful. In this big green barn, we learned how to enrich the time. Our hearts were broken and also healed. We felt the full gamut of joy and devastation in this glorious Ecclesiastical life. We are built by the fabric and the memories of this home, some light, some full of shadow. Giving all its love and protection, it rallied up courage and authenticity. It challenged us to let what is known of us within these walls be the same as that without, to never play the hypocrite. It showed us that pain can be endured, survived, even sublimated. We gave it scuffs and dents and disrepair. It gave us the best years of our lives. I want to say thank you. The only way is with boundless gratitude to the childhood home that loved you so well and the God who gave it. I love you 300 Marks Road. You will remain strong and beautiful, the house on the hill, indelibly etched in my memory. I will always hear your song, calling to me from the past. We filled your rooms with the music of life and I know that it will play on through time to whomever needs to hear it and be healed by its melody.
What are the echoes in your halls?