The Birthplace of a Miracle
I have no idea where this is going but I'll write it anyway.
The house in the picture is the house where Peg lived when I met her. Well, half of it is. If you look closely, you'll see two sections .. left and right, with an entrance door between them. Only the right half existed when I met her in 1958; the entrance and the left half have been added in the past couple of years.
On a side note, you know my feelings for my bride, and if you'd see how the kids at church react around her, and how she reacts when one of them gets saved, you'd know what makes her so special to so many people. Well, for most of her years, she'd lived in the original part of the house in the picture. No running water. No central heat and no heat at all in the upstairs bedroom where she and her sister slept. Most of the cooking was done on a coal-fired cookstove. But the house was so filled with love and respect, happiness and steadfastness, that perhaps there wasn't even room for most of what we think we can't live without, today.
We went, last week, to Lebanon, Indiana, for Peg's 50th Anniversary Reunion, of the 1957 Senior Class of Lebanon High School. I had more fun at this one, this year, than I ever have had at any class reunion anywhere. The entertainment was super, an Elvis-like entertainer, and I had a great time talking there to my college roommate, Gene Pfaffenberger.
One weekend in 1958 Gene needed a date, and Peg's friend Judy was available, so we double-dated with them. We were good matchmakers, apparently, as they've been married 47 years now. We've seen Gene four times I can remember since 1959, and this was the best and longest visit we've had. But I noticed something else interesting on this trip. I'll try to describe it to you.
The house in the photo is fairly typical for a Hoosier farmhouse. Most of the ones we saw this year as we drove from Lebanon to Kirklin to Frankfort, cross-country through fields of corn and soybeans, looked pretty much like this one. I'd be driving along between walls of corn on these narrow macadam roads, and I'd come across an acre or so of grass with some trees, a gravel drive, and a farmhouse. When I lived in Indiana from 1952-1975, I didn't appreciate how special they were. There's a charm and a beauty and the hint of history there, that's uncommon to me. Now that I go back, I see it.
Then I got to thinking of the times I'd walked the streets of Otterfing, Germany or Oakington, Cambridge, UK, and saw beauty and charm I didn't even know existed. The really funny thing on those trips is that the folks who lived there didn't seem to appreciate those things to the extent I did!
On this trip, this year, it dawned on me that I should try to cut through the indifference I experience toward what's around me, and try to see the beauty and charm, of that which I see every day. After all, I live in Alabama, and there's beauty everywhere you look, in most of the places I go.
But then it hit me: as well as God knows us, I don't think He ever, ever, EVER gets so accustomed to us that He fails to see the beauty. Even when I see the ugliness of my sin, He still sees the beauty of His creation, with all that ugliness swept away in the tide of the redeeming blood of Calvary. And that should make me furious at the sin of my members, for getting in the way of what Jesus gave up so much to produce in me.
And then there's you. God sees the same beauty in you, if you're saved.
So why don't we see that in others? I suppose I could make a lot of money lecturing if I could solve that one. But it starts with doing what I did, I guess. I went back to the start (in this case, of my life with my bride Peg). I think the spiritual equivalent of that is a journey to Calvary. And a reminder to look for the beauty there, too.
Like the beauty of those houses in the fields of corn and soybeans, it's been there all along.