My first real home’s construction materialized through the loving hands of my father, grandfather, and uncle. After my premature arrival into the family, we all lived with my aunt and uncle for a few months, waiting for the completion of our new cottage home.
Each pre-fabricated section of our Sears and Roebuck house firmly linked together to become the Ford residence. The four bedroom two story house, would in the future, hold parents, two older sisters, a younger sister and brother, and me, “the middle child.” I can imagine the excitement and pleasure Mom and Dad encountered the first night in their new home. They watched it going up and now excitedly moved in to settle down.
The upstairs had not yet been finalized; that could wait and be tackled a little bit at a time. Our parents were anxious to be in their own home. It is amazing to know the story behind the land firmly holding the foundation and basement of our home. It previously served as a dumping area by folks in the small neighborhood. My father visualized the potential for the half acre piece of property, bordered by a crick and pasture land. Over the years he made that dream come true, but at first it still showed signs of earlier use. Mom took snapshots of me as a baby, around one year of age, sitting on a blanket in our front yard. I can see tin cans in the black and white background scattered across the undeveloped property.
How do you transform a dumping area into a well groomed yard in a middle class community? It takes sweat, a hard working man, who does not mind getting his hands dirty, and time. Hours are invested in planting, watering, weeding and waiting to see things grow. Roots traveled down and grass, trees, and flowers sprang up! My father worked two jobs to provide for his family and still found time to keep an immaculate yard.
One focal point in landscaping done by my parents could be easily spotted approaching our driveway from either direction. The planting of two small evergreen trees at opposite ends of the entrance provided a scenic view to the front of our home. Their planting and my life began at nearly the same time. As I grew up, they reached up towards the sky. Most parents chart the growth of a child with marks on a wall; I remember those lines in a large walk-in upstairs closet, but I know my parents also measured my height and age watching those trees.
At the time of planting my parents did not realize how tall the evergreens would grow. Sadly, they became a hazard, blocking the approaching traffic on the busy highway, a destination to a popular state park. The cherished trees that bound me to my past needed to come down. It must have been a difficult decision and one Mom and Dad considered seriously before taking action.
In life we see many special hopes and dreams going up; we stand back and take great pleasure in the dream becoming a reality. Maybe we put too much trust or focus into those dreams, clinging to the temporary satisfaction they bring. Suddenly they tumble down around us, leaving us feeling empty and sad. Take a look at the whole picture, seeing life’s ups and downs from God’s point of view. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls (down) into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it (springing up) to life eternal (John 12: 24-25 NAS).” When things bring you down, look up in faith!