We held a memorial service for my grandmother this weekend. Coming home from work today, I felt like the St. Croix Valley had a feeling of emptiness.
Grandma hasn’t lived here for about a year, and really hasn’t been herself for the last 5. But I felt like something was missing.
I am raising my family in the same area where I grew up. Every time I drive over the hill into the river valley, I am flooded with the memories that the valley seems to hold in its basin.
Today, however, felt a little different. As a generation passes, those memories slip just a little more out of reach. I live in an area that holds much affinity to many who do not live here. As I talk to co-workers, they tell me how beautiful this area is. What I realized today is that the beauty they talk about is entirely different from the beauty I view. I don’t really view the bluffs, the slow river and the quaint downtown. I find the beauty in Grandpa’s Plumbing Shop, Mom’s Studio, 4th Street and the house on the point. I find beauty in that place under the bridge where I hung out with friends and pondered all the philosophy a teenage mind could handle.
I am now living in that area, and those moments are gone. Only the good memories remain. Any difficulty in those memories, by God’s grace, is suppressed. The family has moved around the world. Hangout spots have faded into antique stores. Friends have followed different paths.
I realized that my role has now shifted. As a child I took in all the memories and now have something sweet to look to as I ponder the blessings in my life. I now have children. My role is to provide those sweet memories for them. My role is to model God’s love and the flawed, yet unrelenting love of their parents. 23 years from now, when my oldest is my age, what will she look back on?
I now realize, more than ever, that “Home” really isn’t a static place. Home doesn’t have anything to do with what your mortgage payments or rent payments go towards. Home is the memories of those who love you. Home is wherever you can set down every guard, mask and ego and just fall into the security of loving and being loved.
- C the Brother