We were grateful to be part of the home visit. My wife Michelle’s Aunt Lynn (her mother’s sister) and Uncle Jim (Lynn’s husband) and their son Mark came back to Wisconsin. Jim and Lynn now live in southern Utah and Mark lives in San Francisco, so anytime we get to see them is a blessing. And because of COVID it was their first trip home in two plus years.
Jim and Lynn are well into their 80’s and both have had serious health problems, so travel isn’t easy for them. But they both still feel the strong tug to come back home to Wisconsin. The hard reality is that most of the family and friends that they used to visit have passed away – some, a long time now. They have been busy since their arrival seeing who they can, but much of what they have been doing is just “driving by” places of connection to their pasts. They drove by the old home farm, even though it has already been a couple of generations since anyone in the family lived there.
Michelle brought out a couple of photographs that we have of two of those home farms – and the picture of the farm where Michelle grew up is displayed on our dining room wall. Those spurred happy memories and much talk of doors that were always open, and how quickly extra plates were set at kitchen tables and the delicious pies and fresh bread with melted butter that were served up. As good as I am sure those pies and warm bread were, you could see in the sparkle of Uncle Jim’s eye that the food was just a metaphor for the warmth of living and laughing and enjoying each other’s company – in other words, being family and being good friends. For a brief time, the farm houses in those pictures had the lights on once again, the fires were lit and the tables set and all the family gathered round.
Jim and Lynn both insisted on helping clean up after dinner so they headed into the kitchen. Mark and I had a few minutes to ourselves in the living room. Mark shared that he had been thinking that this trip would probably be their last. After all, there were now very few people to visit, Mom and Dad probably wouldn’t be up for another cross-country drive, and without them, there wasn’t too much for him to return for.
He was probably right. It probably was good for Mark to be able to say that out loud as a son likely facing the sooner rather than later loss of his parents. But we left it at that and joined the others in the kitchen. Now was the time for laughing and smiling and hugs and saying how good it was to see each other – to be with each other and be thankful for this home visit.
“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
His Peace <><