Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Family Home (05/29/08)
TITLE: That Was Then
By Helen Dowd
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I stood overlooking the valley to the place where I knew it had been: that shack, so humble and shaggy, that I'd spent my early years in. I shut my eyes and imagined that I was a wee girl of four, standing there with my sisters and mother, seeing things as in those days of yore.
My mind floated back to my childhood. I recalled some scenes from the past. And slowly I remember some incidents, recollections that forever will last…Too young to realize the battles that Mama and Daddy'd gone through: the depression, the drought, and the grasshoppers--these things we kids never knew.
The log shack had been built by my father, with no one to help in the task. But then, knowing Dad as I now know him, for help he never would ask. The windows in front were not even. The door hung at an angle--askew. And Mama, when viewing his handwork, said: "Guess that's the best he could do."
Through the door Mama entered the dwelling: two rooms for a family of five? She cringed as a pain overtook her. One more was soon to arrive. Yet she smiled, feeling happy and fuzzy. Though humble, it welcomed her home. No longer did she feel like a transient. No longer did the family need roam.
Ah yes! I recalled dust, ants and grasshoppers, but to me they evoked thoughts of fun. My sisters and I found great happiness, making mud pies that we baked in the sun. And then inside our dirt playhouse, we set out our goodies to munch: to our rag dolls, the ants, and the grasshoppers, we fed our wonderful lunch.
And then I remembered some sadness. Our Mama took terribly ill. We lived 'way out in the country: no hospitals, no doctors, no pills. And Daddy was gone at the present—to find work he had left that same morn--there was no one to look after the babies. By then two more had been born. So sister, just seven, took over. She seemed to know just what to do. She changed and washed little brother, and gave milk to the wee baby, too.
Second sister and I stood 'round crying, 'till big sister yelled at us, "Pray!" So we dropped to our knees and said, "Jesus, please take our Mama's sickness away. And please dear Jesus send Daddy. Without him we all are so sad. We promise, if you make Mama better, we'll try hard to never be bad."
We hardly had finished our praying, when Daddy burst into the house. "Hey Mama," he cried as he entered--stopping short when he saw his sick spouse. He dropped to his knees in a panic, calling loud to his Jesus in prayer. "Oh Lord, please do spare our dear Mama," he cried in anguished despair. He ran to the porch for some coil oil—the only oil he could find. The Scripture in James taught "anointing", and he knew it didn't matter what kind."
James 5:14 and 15 says, "Is any sick among you?... let him pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up…"
Soon after Mama started responding. So slowly she opened her eyes. Bewildered she looked all around her. And gradually she started to rise… The Lord in His great mercy had spared her—she from death to life was restored. To this day I remember that miracle--although then, I had barely turned four.
Many decades have passed since that happening. Many houses have I lived in since then. And the faith of my mother and father, I have thought of again and again. A home is not in the building, regardless how grand it may be. It's the HEART of the house that matters—It's LOVE in the home, don't you see?
As I stood overlooking the valley to that place holding memories galore, I think of my family members, waiting now on the heavenly shore: there're two mothers, a father, big sister, a brother, and two babies, too. I see them all standing and calling: "We're happily waiting for you."
(At a later date our mother died and dad remarried, adding other children to the family.)
This story-poem is based on fact.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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