Mom moved to Heaven 10 years ago this month. Pop did not want to move from their house, but to stay in the home he shared with his Ella. So Joy and I have done our best over the years to keep the house like Mother did. She liked to decorate for the seasons...all of them. So, we tried to do that for Pop, too. We continued to have big family dinners there, and our Thanksgiving afternoons were always dedicated to putting up his tree, decorating it, and putting up wreaths and such. The whole family helped! I think Mom was pleased. The house was very much like she left it when Pop moved to Heaven in March.
But, the house has no life in it now. Gone are the days of the bridal showers and the church staff luncheons. No more of the family dinners, and the visits just to gab. No more birthdays or anniversaries to celebrate there. No planning meetings or mission meetings. No smell of yummy pound cakes Mom made to share with shut ins. There’s no one there now to hear the joy and laughter and tears and fusses and aggravation and kindness and “I love You.” But, that’s life, isn’t it? It goes by so fast, good times and bad…and echoes of the life lived there rings in your ears. It saddens me that Mom never got to hear the laughter of Levi and John Thomas ring through her house. But, they knew all about her…and I believe she knows all about them.
Joy and I , mostly, and the rest of the family have been diligently going through their things and discarding what should be…and passing on what evoked memories for each of us. All of our houses have bits and pieces of their lives…friends, too. After all was passed on, we had an estate sale, with excellent help from a dear friend. (Will be glad to share if anyone needs a high recommendation for such). That was hard. Knowing that strangers were walking in and walking out with things that they had used and loved. But, it was handled in a professional manner and that helped.
We had quite a few big pieces of furniture left over…and some lamps and glasswear, and Christmas wreaths and clothes . So, we have been working to get those moved out of the house and into the garage. Because…time marches on. There sits an empty house begging to be filled with another family’s lives. Joy and Tommy got it all moved to the garage, with some help from a friend. Then we had the entire house cleaned. It smells so good…and looks so much bigger. It’s gutted…of all evidence of the Townsend family.
Today, all that was left in the garage was hauled off to be sold…not for us, all profits will go directly to the mission field. Now, what would have made Mom and Pop any happier? To still be reaching the mission field after death is a blessed thing. One of my dearest friends has a mission at her church. They sell used merchandise to raise money for their trips to the mission field. Bobby and Shirley came over from Moultrie, Georgia this morning to pick up all that was left. Tommy and Bobby and John Thomas, and Shirley loaded the truck. Joy and I and Tina, dear one, wrapped glassware and trinkets to keep them safe.
As the truck pulled away, and the last trash was collected…the garage was swept out…I turned to take one last look. Up the steps leading into the house from the garage…this is what I saw.
How in the world did we do all we did and still leave that sign on the wall. “WELCOME”, it said. And my parents did that. They welcomed the world into their home. They loved people and people loved them. They ministered to people…here and abroad. I think the first thing they would say to our sad hearts today is “WELCOME” a new family to this home, girls, don’t be sad. Life is for the living! Just pray that whoever takes over the care of 120 Lizzy Lane fills it with as much “life” as we did!”
Thank you, God, for the blessing of being born into this Christian family, whose sole desire was to serve you. Thank you for the lessons they taught and the example they lived. Thank you that they filled each of the 7 houses they lived in with love and laughter and ‘welcome’. May it continue to be so in our family as long as we live on this earth. May the lessons learned pass through the generations. And, Lord, if it’s not too much trouble…would you please put all our mansions close together?” Amen.