by Elaine Morley
I met with a dear friend for lunch recently and part of our conversation turned to Matthew 6: 19 (NIV), “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” That verse hit the mark not only for the topic at hand, but as I meditated on it further, God also connected the verse to the very recent loss of my childhood home.
My parents, now in their mid 80s, just sold the house where I was born and it was torn down to make green space for the church next door. The realization that I will face an empty lot where the house used to stand makes me sad for my next trip back to Minnesota.
That house stood its ground for many years. It was built in 1876 by a doctor who had just moved to our little southern Minnesota town. I’m not sure what life that house had between him and our large family but it was the perfect size and location for us. In November 1964 my parents bought the home and moved 11 ¾ children into the house on the big corner lot. The ¾ represents me, number 12 and the final addition to the line of kids. I was born within a few months of them moving into the home and dad would always remember how long they had lived there by asking me, “How old are you now?”
Through that verse in Matthew, God changed my focus from the physical loss of the home to the comforting realization that there were many treasures stored in my heart and in heaven that came from that home. This house, like all treasures on Earth, will be eaten by moths, destroyed by vermin, and torn down to meet someone else’s need. But the memories that were made in that house, both with family members and with friends, will not rust or be destroyed. The faith that was built within those walls cannot be taken away.
I remember mom standing in the doorway of our little bedroom as she watched over my sister and I when we said our bedtime prayers. I remember her closing the door to her bedroom and sitting with me when I was studying for my first communion, shutting out the chaos of the household to make sure that I learned about the significance of Christ’s sacrifice. I remember walking home for lunch each day from school and mom being there. I remember helping dad plant and harvest the large garden that fit so well on our large corner lot. I remember climbing the huge oaks and having to rake all the leaves in the fall. The piles of leaves would be as tall as we were, and we’d pile them up by the porch and jump off the railing into the piles. I remember as a teenager climbing out my bedroom window onto the roof to get a suntan, slathering baby oil on our skin to make sure we got lots of color (kids if you are reading this, it’s a bad idea, do not try this at home). I remember as adults sitting on the wraparound porch whenever we’d gather back at home on a warm Minnesota day. And with every trip back dad would give me a tour of his flower and vegetable gardens, and we’d pick black raspberries that were so sweet they tasted like jam right off the bush.
So as I continue to digest the loss I realize that like those raspberries, there are many sweet memories to balance the sadness that I feel now that the house is gone. It has made me think about what memories and treasures I am storing through the activities of my own home. So I leave you with a question, what treasures are stored through your home?
Elaine Morley and her husband, Paul, have been married for 20 years and have called Grace Family Church their home for the past seven. She has two wonderful step-children who still live in Minnesota, but visit Florida often. She serves as a Beautiful small group leader and loves the friends she’s made at Grace who help strengthen her walk with God.
Your blog was beautiful!!
I can identify with your words here. My grandparents sold their home several years ago, but it was the one place I knew all my life growing up. My family had moved so many times, but my grandparents home was our rock. Though the home is gone, our memories and love is not. And, I have just recently moved into my own home with my 7-year old daughter, and I know, together, we will make memories and love that will transcend the physical limits of this earth.
Thank you for such a wonderful story!
Elaine, I loved reading your comments and reflecting upon the loss you have all felt. Each time I go to Faribault your dad wants to drive by the empty lot. Your mom always says, “There is nothing there now”. I sense that they both are grieving the loss of their home that had so many memories.Thank God for all the good memories and carry them with you into the future.
This is a terrific tribute to a home that gave so many of us fond memories. I am glad that i have pictures of grandma and grandpa in that home, holding my babies. I grieved this like a loss of a friend, but i too realized the memories are forever in my heart, and no bulldozer can take them from me.
Thank you for this. Thank you, also, for setting the bar so high as a godmother. I will always appreciate the impact you had on my life in all its messy glory. I love you!
Your blog is beautiful, I can feel the pain and joy of your memories “treasures” as you talk of times past, present and future as if we were sitting in Perkins. My parents sold 2 homes + a Supper Club. The last home my father past away in, so I understand the difference between earthly treasures & things & treasured memories. I also learned memories or just plain life can get stressful at times, remember call on God to help ease the burden or focus, read the bible or call a friend to just listen/be there. As you’ve probably guessed from our e-mails I’ve walked a closer walk with God the last 4 yrs. Elaine you have a large heart, and always their with a helping hand when needed. Someone I call a true friend – that is a treasure I hold very dear. As always you & your family are in my prayers, and may the good lord keep you in the palm of his hand till we meet again. Love C.
Thank you so much for that blessing! I was moved to tears not only by the story but by the writer…. you have grown so much in your faith and you challenge me.
Such a nice tribute to our family home. We will always have the memories of growing up together in that big old house and that is something no bulldozer can destroy. It is funny how many times my dreams bring me back there. Being so far away, it seems odd to know that the house is no longer there, but I will always hold onto those memories. Coming home for lunch was also one of my favorite times because we got a little one-to-one time with Mom, something not easily obtained when you are one of a dozen children. I have such wonderful memories of spending time in the big screened-in porch so I built one on my home. Now my grandchildren enjoy spending time there and, in a small way I have a small part of that big old family home.
I enjoyed reading your comments. I believe that the memories of growing up in that house will stay with us forever. Those memories are really about the people and the love, laughter and tears that we each shared. The house was a central place for each of us to share all of those feelings and memories. To me it was not about the house, it was always about the people we loved and grew up with, the memories we created. Love your sister Pam