Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)
TITLE: Little Brass Bell
By Donna Powers
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Up until yesterday, this is where you’d find our house. Its four walls sheltered us and kept us warm and dry. It held our furniture and all the things we’ve collected over the years. It had spaces for our TVs, our computers and our big fish tank. We decorated it with bright colors and homemade curtains. Our garden gave color and life to our tiny yard.
Now, it’s all nothing but a shambles. It's a pile of mismatched scraps of lumber and bricks. The hurricane swept through our town and leveled most of the houses here. I’ve seen so many families doing just what we’re doing now: picking through the rubble to try and glean some treasures. There’s not much left.
Yet, through my tears, I look at my family and know we’re blessed. We have our faith; we have our love and we have hope for the future. Church friends will give us a place to sleep tonight and the Red Cross brought us food. We may not have all we’d want, but God knows what we need.
Home is Ruthie’s laugh, and it’s Paula’s friendly smile. Home is seeing the girls dance and listening to them as they practice their spelling words. Home is prayers before bedtime and encouraging each other to follow God’s plan. Home is hugs from my husband and winking at each other when no one else is looking. Home is singing silly songs and laughing at things that no one else understands. Home is unconditional love.
Last Christmas Eve, our family sat in front of our fireplace and decorated a beautiful spruce. Snow glistened on the windows and folded itself gently onto our lawn. Christmas Carols were playing quietly in the background. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows in the fire and we told stories and laughed with each other. The flames hypnotized me as I stared into them. Hand in hand, we thanked God for His Gift of Jesus and His daily gifts to our family. To me, that’s the essence of what home is and will always be. Those connections we have, as a family, will endure no matter where we may live.
Over there, in one of the many piles, I found a little brass bell. It’s one of the many decorations we hung on our Christmas tree, over the years. We had several boxes of them but I don’t see any of the others.
Why did this one survive the hurricane? I don’t know. I do know I slipped it into my pocket with a smile. It will be a symbol of what we once had, and next Christmas it will be front and center on our new tree: a bridge between our past and our future.
I’ll miss the way our house and garden looked. I’ll miss the walls and the curtains and the furniture. But I know those things didn’t make our house a home; and I’m thankful the Lord hasn’t taken away the people who make a home with me. With His help, our true home will always be intact, within our hearts.
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