A house stands quietly. This past month or so, it has spent its nights alone. The only activity it has seen has been children emptying out room after room while visions of memories flood their eyes. For almost exactly forty years this house has stood at the center of this family. Kids have graduated here and weddings have been staged from here. Holiday parties pulled all the children back to the table here. The garage has stood guard over restored cars while the kitchen has filled with the scent of baked pies. A family has stood vigil in a bedroom over their mother’s final days, and then final hours. The laughter of grandchildren has filled the halls, and these same grandchildren have learned to play pool in the family room. So many of this family’s shared laughs and tears have occurred within these walls. But now their days here are numbered. Soon, adult children and grandchildren will stand in a doorway and take one last look at an empty home.
A new family will move in soon, with their grandchildren coming to spend the night upstairs and their presents standing under a tree in the living room. The mood of this house will once again swing back to joy. Not on this day, though, as rain drops roll down the red and yellow bricks of its exterior. Today is about closure for one family. Today is about saying ‘goodbye’ all over again. Cherished memories will live on in their minds, and love will burn brightly in their hearts in these final hours. God gifts us with these abilities. The memories will last a lifetime. The love will be passed down through the generations. For it is God’s desire that things of the heart stand eternal and cross all moments, whether sorrowful or joyous. So, on this night, their beloved home will stand empty and quiet…but the heartbeat of this family will continue onward to new life and brighter days. Thanks be to God for places we call home…and hearts where we can store that which we cherish most. Amen.
-Rev Jeffrey G Mikyska (pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin, IL)

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