frozen in time

You know there aren’t many things that come between me and a good night’s sleep, but tonight was one of those times. Partly because I am concerned about my husband having an emergency at a worksite and his being gone since yesterday morning to take care of that, partly because of the danger it involves, and, I must confess, a good part because I hate to face responsibility. I am so blessed that Mike takes care of many things for me, but today is mine to handle a myriad of yucky things to do. The house where I grew up is going to have to be overhauled and there are a couple of things that can’t wait—one being some kind of leak in the plumbing (I hope) or the sewer (I hope not!) These repairs and house renovations bring back memories of growing up with a few rent houses right next to our home where all of us had to pitch in and help when one vacated. I’ve done some things you wouldn’t probably think I could handle. Because my dad passed away when I was twelve, I helped paint entire houses in weekends, clean houses from top to bottom, from sweeping roofs to running plumber’s “snakes” down the roof drain to unclog the pipes. The problem today is the house isn’t even vacant to start from scratch. I have to move out all the stuff that a house that has been lived in for fifty years can contain. Then, I get to fix it up. I will actually enjoy that part, but right now, the air is not working—we’re talking 95 for a high today, and whatever the plumbing problem is, I am praying doesn’t cause a mold problem. It will all work out but it is really eerie, going in to a place where you grew up and seeing it so run down. Before I’m finished, it will be a place I am pleased with again, but until then, a lot needs to be done to spiff up. A few years ago, I went in the home to check on it and was so sad. My stepfather was just mentally paralyzed after my mother’s death now twelve years ago. She did everything for him, and did it well. He never really has gotten a hold on life again.

Seven years ago, I made this note:

I walked about the darkened house, the one that I know best other than where I live now. I grew up there. I was so struck by how things were still exactly the same. My mother, a meticulously organized woman, had the house down to a working science. It was so much about who she was—not the least bit ostentatious, but so together, so orderly and practical. Today I noticed that things have slowly given way to her absence–basically unkept by a man who never learned to cook or clean, still wanting to have his wife take good care of him. The house needs her touch so badly, but more so, I could see how my stepfather needs her still. It was like she was still there, and yet there was a huge vacuous hole so apparent that she was not. As I was about to leave, I glanced over my shoulder in the kitchen, and there was a calendar on the wall that said January 1995. I just totally fell to pieces. It seemed so long ago, now almost five years. My mother went to be with the Lord on December 8, 1994. That was so much like her to put the new calendar up as soon as she could, so full of hope for the next year to come. But it didn’t.

Not much has changed since that day. I think I’ll go do something fun like pay bills. . .If you think about it, pray for my stepfather as he could surely use a little eternal Hope right now.


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