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The house had stood for well over eighty years. Its shingles were in need of replacement. The windows now clouded from age and visibility was quite poor as well. The chimneys were filled with debris from the storms, winds and the rains. The old wooden door’s lock still worked and still kept the inside dry. The white paint on the outside was chipped and bleached by many suns.
The air inside was musty for it had been closed to so many years. There were no delicious fragrances inside that I remembered so well. The furniture still sat covered with sheets that had seen their best days. The lamps produced no light for the power had been turned off decades ago. The pendulum on the grandfather clock had stopped at exactly twelve o’clock. Spider webs filled the fireplace covering the logs like a blanket made of white silk.
The house once stood as a grand estate to all who passed our way. Its firm foundation had never been moved from the rock beneath the surface of the earth. Mr. Womble had constructed this earthy mansion with hand picked pieces of wood. He wasn’t a carpenter but he knew which woods would last the longest time. He also knew who the Rock in life was. He knew every life must be built on a firm foundation.
This endeavor of his would have to last a very long time and would hold his most precious possessions. It had to be able to stand against rot, rust, and decay. Each nail Mr. Womble used to build the house had been blessed of God. He wasn’t a big church going man but he knew the Almighty God very well. I suggest to you that this might be just one of the reasons why the old house was still standing and in as good of shape as it was.
All the surrounding houses looked like piles of matchsticks torn asunder by powerful winds and rain. Even the huge oak trees that were hundreds of years old had been torn from the ground exposing their enormous root systems. It looked as if God’s hands had parted the winds and the rain allowing the house once blessed to remain in tact.
I knew Mr. Womble well. He was a short chubby man who smoked a pipe. Teaching was his delight but not just in the classroom. No! He had students who quickly became best friends. He saw no strangers and had no enemies. Money left in his pocket at the end of the day only told him he had failed to use it as God had intended. He never had a savings account at any of the local banks. He just kept his faith that God would sustain him and never worried about the lack of things. He was well aware that he was not going to remain on this earth forever but just a stranger passing through. He made plans daily for his journey ahead day by day. A loaf of bread, a glass of fresh milk and a good slice of cheese were almost enough. When he added the jellies and homemade jams his precious wife cooked up, he was a satisfied lump of clay.
I can picture him stretched back in his old brown recliner with a piece of fruit sitting on his side table. The black leather bound book sat within fingers reach. It was his blueprint for life and the details describing his future mansion were underlined in red. He simply called it the Word of God, the book of all books.
I suppose I remember him better than most of the town’s folk do. As my eyes scan the living room I see the large oval framed picture still hanging on the wall. I always though it was a true likeness of both Dad and Mom.
Now I am heir to the old home place and I’m much honored to still call it home. My feet will have trouble I’m sure filling those enormous shoes left behind. My feet are not nearly as big and I’m not as well versed in God’s Holy word. I’m proud to walk in Dad’s footsteps because he is a legend of a man. He laid his foundation upon the Rock of Ages and not on the sinking sands. I’m sure they are walking the streets of gold now and having a wonderful time. I can picture him in his mansion he told me so much about. He won’t have to bless the nails or have mom to clean the walls. He is not one bit worried about the wind, the storms or the rain. He always wanted to see Jesus and I’m sure they now walk hand in hand. I wonder how many people failed to follow God’s master plan.
I’ll bless the nails in the old tin bucket just like Dad used to do. I’ll replace the glass in the windows and replace a shingle or two. I’ll dust off the furniture and toss the sheets in the garbage can. I’ll light a fire in the fireplace and stretch back in the old brown recliner. It won’t take long and this old house will be looking good as new. My family will be sitting on a firm foundation built on the solid Rock we shall stand. The walls will be cleaned with mom’s old Murphy’s oil soap and like Mom; I’ll line the ceilings with lots of prayers. The Good Book says that God himself will one day soon separate the wheat from the tares. Which are you, the wheat or the tares?
30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Question: Why was the house left standing?
Written by Sybil Shearin
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