OF ABANDONED HOUSES AND RUINED LIVES
I happened upon an old blog post a bit ago, and although I've never recycled an old blog post before, I thought I'd do that with this one. Methinks the thoughts I had in June 2009 may still be relevant, today.
Abundance of life is missed far too often.
Two completely different ideas have collided in my brain and I want to write about them.
First, the house: this is a little duplex located at 1920 Minnesota Street, at the corner of Villa Avenue, in Indianapolis, Indiana. My maternal Grandmother and Grandfather lived in the left half of that house when it was first built. I was really young at the time, but I think it was the middle-late 1940's. My Aunt Marcella and her husband had them move to that house, as it was just two blocks South of their house, up at the corner of Villa and Pleasant Run Parkway.
It was built in the "shotgun" style, with the living room in front, the kitchen (with eating area) behind, then the bedroom and bathroom in the back.
I recall falling asleep in the living room, many times, on the floor. Grandpa Tanner had a stack of Craftsman tool catalogues and I used to love reading them, lying on the floor. There was a pot-belly stove in the living room, and a nice maroon rug on the floor, and it was a great place for a nap.
Only trouble was, every time .. without exception .. I fell asleep there, Mom would wake me up and say if I wanted to take a nap, go lie down on the bed. I always did, but never once did I ever fall asleep again after she made me move.
I guess if Mom had ever taken a nap there on the floor, she would've let me sleep.
They lived there until my Grandfather got up in the middle of the night, had a stroke on the way to the bathroom, fell and hit his head on the dresser, and never awoke from the coma that followed. Grandmother's mind "snapped", she never cried or smiled again, and began a rapid descent into total confusion. In fact, they knew something had to be done just a few weeks later when she'd get lost walking 2 blocks up the street to Aunt Marcella's house. They'd find her standing half way, not knowing which direction she was supposed to walk.
Said all that to say what a depressing sight it was in 2003 when, on a visit to Indianapolis, I drove by and took this pictures. So many nice memories, and now it's all neglected and overgrown. But when I thought about it, it occurred to me that the memories all had to do with life there. With the life now gone, the sight was most depressing.
I'd stumbled upon this picture a few hours ago, and then as I type this, the TV was showing a program about women behind bars; specifically about one young girl in prison for 3 consecutives life terms plus 25 years. That amounts to a death sentence, as a guard said; it'll just be a while before they carry her out in a box.
And then the universality of the life of Christ came crashing down on me and I knew I had to write. See .. if she'd found Jesus, and walked to the beat of His drum ... make that the beat of His heart .. she'd likely not be where she is today, expressing such hopelessness. Similarly, if she were to find Christ now, and devote the rest of her days to serving Him, where she is, she could find purpose and joy and a reason for being, despite her circumstances.
The two dozen or so men who got a degree from a seminary while in prison in Mississippi come immediately to mind.
Jesus said He came that we might have abundant life. Now, since He both designed and manufactured us, and since He is the One Who defines life, I think He knows better than anyone what abundant life is for us. And He's left the world's most complete set of instructions, for anything, just for us. On how to have that abundant life.
Wherever we are.
What was missing, at 1920 Minnesota Street, was life. What was missing, in the young lady in prison, was purpose and hope. I thank God for the indescribable gift of His Son, who can and does give us all three, wherever we are.
My hope is that my life reflects the life of Jesus .. with its purpose and its hope.
The world needs to know and, besides, I don't want my life to look like 1920 Minnesota Street.