It's funny how twenty years later I still reach to the back of the toilet to flush. Somehow, the toilet in the bathroom attached to my childhood bedroom was installed with the flusher on the back. It tricked a lot of guests.
My parents have redone the bathroom, and probably ten years ago they put in a new toilet with the flusher in front. But still, in the middle of the night or in the bright of the day, I relearned during my visit to Washington last week to reach for the front.
Home is like that--ingraining into our minds patterns, behaviors, and memories.
It was a joyous visit this spring. For indeed spring has come there, the daffodils beginning to fade, the tulips in full glory, and the lilacs just starting to flower, their delicious fragrance still withheld.
Four of my kids and I visited family and friends in Washington. Brian was in Peru and Conner stayed in Williston to attend school and thereby not have to retake his classes.
We happened to come when three of my dearest friends were moving or have recently changed up their new country homes. The space, acreage, and promise of new things, right at the dawn of spring brought much joy to our lives.
While we were there we had a couple hours of downtime, and I asked the kids which old haunt they'd most like to visit. They chose Daffodil Hill and our old house. I was reticent to visit our old neighborhood, fearing the lure of the street would cause us to look up old neighbors and put us behind in our time commitments.
|Daffodil Hill a few years back|
Next to the signs were the grapevines we'd transplanted and my dad taught me how to prune. No one's pruned them since I had three years ago and their wild look choked my heart.
How many children from the neighborhood had paused in the early fall heat to try a grape, first when they were unripe and then again when full of sugar? Will they still produce with such lack of care?
The hedge and the apple trees were equally as bad, unruly and shouting for attention. Instead of the blue corduroy curtains hanging in the far bedroom there were gaudy brown taffeta panels.
The last thing I noticed was the pick up truck parked atop our sidewalk we created to enter through the side door instead of the front. In such a small home, it was a wonderful addition so that the main entry did not get bombarded by constant use from the seven of us. The front door was reserved for our many guests coming in and out.
Because of the pick up truck I could not see the roses I'd transplanted, carefully tended, and tried to fight aphids from every summer.
We drove off, eager for the next visit to my sister's, and the old house was forgotten.
Later, days later, I conjured up the image of the pick up truck again. If it was on top of the sidewalk, then it was also on top of the five lilac bushes I'd planted.
My vision was for large, fragrant lilac bushes to flourish in the full sun, providing a bit of privacy to us from the park next door and beauty for others. I was going to put a hidden bench there as the lilacs got bigger.
Four of those lilac bushes were picked out personally--one by each child (Tim being a baby and not caring much)--at the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens up in Woodland. We'd visit the gardens every spring, sometimes with friends and sometimes by ourselves, and smell the hundreds of varieties of lilacs cultivated and offered for our enjoyment.
The sale at the gardens was buy three, get one free. Each child besides baby Tim picked their favorite. I used a little of our tax return money for the purchase and took them home. We made little stones with each child's handprint to put next to their lilac. I planted them alternating--dark purple, light purple, dark purple, light purple.
Then I transplanted the other lilac in our yard. The one some people brought us shortly after we'd moved in, telling me lilacs love lots of water and shade.
I stuck it in the shadiest spot and poor Bill next door walked over to faithfully water it every day while we were on vacation. It hadn't grown much.
Lilacs actually thrive in sun. Tim's lilac was much happier next to the others.
Now they are squashed by an old pick up and my vision will never be more than that...a vision.
That's okay, though painful. There are lots of visions in that yard that are there because they. actually. happened. Memories of little toddlers running about, planting gardens together, watching things grow, chasing squirrels, playing basketball and football and tag.
Times of getting stir crazy and being "Rain Runners." Sometimes a child or two would run around the house fifty times and come in drenched. Times playing capture the flag or sitting in the middle of the street watching the fireworks with neighbors. Those are the visions I will hold on to.
My beloved friends are making new homes right now. They will have visions of what things will look like in the future. They will propose projects and improvements. Some will come to pass and others will not.
Greater than all these, I have a vision for them, for me, for you. A vision of our children and teens being raised in righteousness. A vision of hearts revived with the truth that God loves them and their response is a life given over to His leading.
I can hear their adult selves sharing stories with their children from their childhoods. I can see them pointing to the sky and telling them this was not all an accident. I sense them whispering words of hope and wisdom and love into hearts yet unborn...a hushed truth that they are forgiven and accepted because of Jesus.
I pray over their places but even more so, their lives--for the visions that they look back upon, the memories that really do take place, that they will be able to say "the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance."