Thirty-two years ago in February 1987, my wife, Melanie, and I moved into a new home. Well, the house was actually 12 years old, but was new to us. It offered us more living space, a big yard, a large garage, a deck, and a swimming pool. Our daughter was four years old and Melanie was five months pregnant with our son, so the move was timely.
We lived in that house until January 31 of 2019. Our children became adults there. We raised dogs, guinea pigs, hamsters, turtles, gold fish and probably an assortment of other critters that I cannot remember or don’t want to think about. I taught my children how to swim there. In the back yard, I hung a tire swing in the oak tree; I planted a vegetable garden almost every spring; we played kickball, and croquet, and bad mitten. The back yard was where we had cook outs on the grill and sat on our deck and later on our patio and had dinner.
Inside, our gathering place was the den where we watched our favorite shows on TV or used the computer. Our son liked to use the stairs to send his hot wheel cars whizzing down a track from the top to the bottom. And at night I would either carry the kids in my arms upstairs to their beds or shew them up as I ran behind them.
A lot of love happened there.
Seeing the house empty, and walking out and locking the door, never to return, was hard.
As I was leaving, I saw the large stone that had sat in our front flower bed for all the years we lived there. On impulse, I decided to take it with me. It weighs about 100 pounds so it was not easy to lift into the trunk, but I was determined that it was going with us. I unloaded it into the flower bed of our new house, in our new 55+ neighborhood. It has been sitting there since February 1, 2019. Seeing it each morning fills me with joy. Seeing it at night under the porch lights gives me comfort.
Today I read that the word Ebenezer means “stone of help”. It struck me that the rock that I had carried from our old house to our new house is just that. Somehow that stone, sitting inanimately, and motionless, speaks to me and moves me from present day to yesterday and back.
So, if you are ever in our neighborhood, stop by. And on the way in, say hello to Ebenezer. He sits in the front flower bed.