Did you ever have a flashbulb moment? It would be a very special occasion, maybe a birthday or even Christmas, when Mom would get out the old flashbulb camera. "Ok, son, give us a big smile. This one's for gramps," she would say.
Oh, to go back to those good old days of yesteryear, when a smile really was a smile, fast foods were unheard of and when tea was really boiled on the stove. The smell of Mom's cooking would penetrate the whole house. Oh, for that old-time kitchen, and the associations of the surroundings. "Pass the hot biscuits, please."
As in this eventful fiction blog, our family homecoming, or even the memory of it can be a very eventful occurrence. It seems to be a process rather than a moment. In reality, or in our dreaming, homecoming always seems to deepen our understanding of the past. Pray that we continue to seek that strong foundation for our family.
Thus it is with this emotional life parable THOSE FLASHBULB MOMENTS
Where am I? What is this all about? Is this really me? It's got to be a vision of sorts. It simply can't be me. Not a dignified, stable college professor of my status. Maybe if I were to just pinch myself, I'd awaken to my senses. Nonetheless, it continued, this vision of sorts.
It was yesteryear. I found myself in the yard of my old home place. The lights were on. Smoke was billowing from the chimney. Gospel singing echoed out into the wind.
Why, there's Old Smoky, our dog lying leisurely under the porch steps, hoping for some kitchen scraps. As if by some divine impulse I was drawn towards the house.
Parked there in the garage was my old hot-rod jalopy, the one Dad and I put together from all those junkyard parts. I can just picture myself cruising down Main Street, honking the horn at all my puppy loves.
Then, there I was, in my PJ's standing in front of that old wood burning kitchen stove, warming my feet. The aroma penetrating from the old stove seemed to permeate the entire kitchen.
As of old, I was jumping for joy just to taste those big Baptist biscuits dripping in honey and smelling Mom's celebrated cheese eggs.
She was cooking as usual. Turning around with her normal smile, she began to speak. "Gather around here my son, here's just a little something to hold you over till lunch."
But then, "Wait just a minute," she called out, "Just a few pictures."
Why would Mom always make us all wait until she popped those flash- bulbs? Why all the pictures? Why now, with the food getting cold? And why in my PJs?
I remember her famous response word for word. I've heard it a thousand times. "It's for our family album, my son. For all your grandkids to see and love," she would say as she popped another flash bulb.
Again, as if by divine guidance I found myself in the big room with the open fireplace where the family would always gather on special occasions. The old checker board was at rest on the pool table, along with remnants of ice tea glasses and cookie crumbs left on the fireplace hearth.
Why there's Dad, smoking that old pipe, and stoking the fire. "Come in my son, I've been waiting for you. I need you to go outside and gather some more firewood," he exclaimed.
Yet again, as if by divine direction, the scenery suddenly changed. I found myself in the big hall. The family altar was still in place. Kneeling there at the altar was my oldest sister, crying and praying, over and over, in quiet meditation, her tears dripping down the old altar rail. Before I could take in this setting, I was swiftly whisked away.
Much to my disappointment, my vision was over. I was back in my office, my desk and laptop awaited the finishing touches of my university doctorate dissertation entitled "Those were the good old days."
However, I just couldn't shake this unusual vision. I've never experienced anything like it before. Was the message actually given by Providential direction? Maybe so.
I know, I'll just visit the Paradise In the Pines, our assisted living facility, and pay Mom a visit. Maybe she will have an answer to this very unusual vision. I can always count on her God-inspired wisdom. I really do need peace of mind. I'm beyond myself right now. And her motherly prayer will surely help out. I just know it will. Amen!
Visions, we all probably have them. As for me, some are good, others rather spooky. So do you ever envision going back home? Do these back home dreams ever turn into reality?
They do for me. Growing up, as a "PK" (short for preachers kid) I remember early on in life, my old preacher Daddy moving our family around the country, according to the wishes of his Salvation Army leadership. Then, as Dad's seniority grew with the Army, we were not moving as often. Having lived in Panama City, FL for most of my school years from late Grammar school through High School, I kind of call PC home.
And when we go back to PC beach on vacation, I will oftentimes take a drive back over to Panama City proper, driving around my old stomping grounds. Occasionally I will even go into town and attend the Sunday morning service. Although many friends have passed on, there are still a few of my fellow church members to visit.
Visions oftentimes also carry me back to my young married days. I remember what great times we would all have around that big table. Why, I can still taste my mother-in-law's home-style cooking, with country fried chicken and buttermilk gravy, those big, Baptist biscuits, and oh yes, that homemade egg custard pie. Just a bit of Heaven on earth, I might add. Then there were our family reunions. They were a time of catching up on all the family gossip, seeing who would tell the tallest tale, having grandpa brag on the young grandchild, and inspecting the newest family vehicles. All the cousins described their overseas vacations, and we betted on how long Gramps would stay awake. Watching the kids playing ball, kissing all the newborn babies, and on and on. If only Homecoming would come around every week.
Well, for those of us who love the Lord, homecoming is an everyday affair just feasting on God's faithful blessings. "For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield." (Psalms 5:12)
“Because we cannot repair the loss of years away, homecomings are almost always conflicted. We seem no longer to be "at home" in our former familiar place. And we do not live between two or more cultures, but rather in both. We are neither fully away, nor fully home. "In the pain of this tension, there is a strange blessing, a nudge that helps us to realize the fundamental sojourner status of our human existence. Life moves towards death. And for the Christian, there is the sense that this world as it is now is not our final home. Having made the return, our pilgrim status in the journey of faith becomes even more evident. This reminds us that in some strange way we are too early for Heaven and too late for this world.” (Charles Ringma, Sabbath Time: a hermitage journey of retreat, return & communion)
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