I remember the last time I drove through my hometown, two years after selling the only home I had ever known. My car seemed to tiptoe down the street. It slowed to a standstill half a block away from the house. Peeking at the new storage shed in the backyard and the shutters that were no longer blue was all I could bear.
My father built the white wooden house in 1950 when my parents married. My mother lived there until she died in 2013. No matter that it had no central heat or air, or that its closets could barely contain all the old clothes, toys, and family photos, I loved that home. As tenderly as we could over two hot summers, my brother, sister, and I dissembled the family possessions it held, then put it on the market.
My memories of the home I loved echo the way the psalmist describes the Temple: for your servants hold its stones dear (v. 14). They love it for the joy it gives them. They love it for its holy space where they gather with God’s people. They even claim meaning in its crumbling stones.
Things fall apart. They fade, crumble, and break. They tear, lose their luster, and turn to dust. Earthly things have meaning for us, yet those meaningful things do not last forever. Worn smooth by years of use, the things we treasure remind us of the places where we met God. May we each claim these treasured stories in the temple of our hearts.
What do you carry with you that helps you remember an important place in your life? Why does the thing you carry remind you of God’s presence and care?
God, thank you for those things that help us live our daily lives and for the treasures that remind us of your presence within and beyond our earthly stories. Amen.