Lindy’s Lesson for Life
The sound of muffled voices woke Lindy from deep sleep. She raised the soft thick curtain and peeked out. It was barely daylight, still quite early for her family to be up and about.
Ten-year-old, Melinda , Lindy, for short, lay very still, trying to figure out what she’d heard. The voices grew a little louder, and she recognized one as her Grandads’, but he sounded so strange. Mamma was speaking now, and Lindy could tell she was crying.
“But Dad, are you sure? You mean everything’s gone? How could it happen so fast?” Momma’s sentences ran together, giving him no time to answer.
Then his sad, broken reply “ I don’t really know, but probably the old wiring in the attic. It seemed to have started overhead, and came down into all the rooms so fast.”
He sighed, then began again, “But yes, everything is gone. The three of us finally got together in the back bedroom, raised the window, pushed the feather mattress out, and jumped onto that. We’d just moved away from the heat, when the ceilings began to fall, and everything was aflame. The neighbors called the fire department but...” he sobbed, and couldn’t finish.
Lindy could stand it no longer. She sat up, pushed her feet into her slippers, and ran into the kitchen. There sat Grandad, shoulders slumped, leaning on the dining table. He reached up and patted her, but seemed very far away. Daddy sipped his coffee, saying nothing, then Mamma finally spoke.
“Oh, Lindy, Grandma and Grandad’s house caught fire and burned completely last night! She and Ron and Grandad were barely able to get out themselves.” She let her voice die away, realizing what could have happened.
“Where is Grandma now? And Uncle Ron, where is he?” Lindy asked. Lindy was crazy about her “Uncle” Ron, though he was only fifteen, and she wondered how he was feeling this minute.
“They’re at the Hardy’s house, across the road, right now, and we’ll be going into town to stay with Aunt Lily and Uncle Bill tonight. They’ve asked us to stay until we can figure out what to do next. Jim Hardy knows about a small house for sale that could maybe be moved onto the property.” Talking with great effort, Grandad looked sad and weary.
Later, on their way to see Grandma and Ron, Lindy let her own thoughts settle in. She pictured in her mind the house that had been “Grandma’s house” as long as she could remember. She saw the big fireplace, and the chairs close by, where Grandma had read to her and told her wonderful stories. She thought of the big, high front porch, and the long hall down the center of the house, a grand place to ride her tricycle, before she had outgrown it. She remembered the pretty rugs in the bedrooms, and the big extra bedroom that became a playroom for all the grandchildren. Lindy couldn’t imagine life without “Grandma’s house”.
Feeling heavy in her ten-year-old heart, Lindy got out of the car in front of the Hardy’s. She forced herself to look away from the black, smoldering mass across the road. She went, instead, in search of Grandma. When their eyes met, Grandma reached out her arms to Lindy, and they clung and wept. At last, Lindy was taken into this tragedy in her childish way, and she felt better just being in Grandma’s arms.
Then with eyes puffy and lips that trembled, Grandma hugged Mamma, gently touched Ron’s stricken face, and looked around.
“Listen to me, all of you I’ll miss my pretty quilts, my furniture, all our things, and most of all, my pictures! I had so many! Pictures of my Mama and Papa, and of my babies growing up. It all hurts so much right now! But our heavenly Father knows, and He will get us through it.”
“And remember”, she continued, “A house is only a house. A home, now, that’s different! A home is the people in it, a family that loves each other, and is glad to be alive and together. A home is the place where God’s presence dwells. My home is still here, all around me, when I look into your faces. So we can simply trust our God and move on.”
Lindy saw Grandad smile, ever so slightly, and stand a little straighter. He walked away, then, to talk with Jim about that little house.
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