After officiating at a funeral today (retired, you know!), I grubbed around in the snow beside the garage for about fifteen minutes, trying to find my loading ramps so I could take our snowblower to Cassadaga. Those ramps were really buried, but I finally located them under about a foot of the white powdery stuff, and soon had my snowblower loaded in the back of the truck. Linda joined me as we headed north to clear the driveway of our Cassadaga home. We've listed it back on the market, and wanted to make sure people could get in the driveway if necessary.
I had forgotten how much more snow Cassadaga gets than we do here, just six miles south. Cassadaga sits on a ridge that catches the snow, whether it is coming south from Fredonia, or north from Jamestown and Sinclairville. We get one; Cassadaga gets it from both directions. The driveway at our Cassadaga house is nestled between a steep bank on the east and the house on the west. When the wind comes from across the lake to the north, it swirls and dumps and drifts right in the middle of the driveway. Close to the road where the plows come through, it's always deep. Then there is a stretch where it at times is absolutely bare, followed by a drift that can be three feet deep, easing off to the front of the barn where again it can be almost bare.
Nothing was bare today. Three feet of drift in the middle, nearly a foot in the low spots, and about a foot and a half of heavy, salty, slushy snow at the end of the driveway. I really don't mind it, though. It only took about twenty minutes, and it looks so nice when it's all done. But it's all somewhat bittersweet. That was the first home we had ever owned, and I had fully expected it would be our last. I skimmed through the photos the realtor uploaded, a virtual tour through the house when we still lived there, all furnished and looking beautiful. It actually looked like a Bed & Breakfast; that's how good Linda is at decorating. I commented on it to Linda, and she felt bad, thinking that her desire to live back here in Sinclairville took me away from the house I loved.
But I've been in the house since we moved out. Just last week, we showed it to a couple potential tenants. If we moved back, it would be home again, but without our stuff, and without our family, it's only a house. Fifteen years ago when we moved there, the former owners told us, "It's been a happy home." So it was for us, too. As is the one we inhabit now. As is every place we've lived over the years. Stuff is stuff. Houses are made of stone and brick, glass and wood. Homes are made up of people.
I've had folks ask me about heaven; what it's like, where it is. I can't say for certain; I believe many of the popular notions about it are figments of people's imaginations. But of this much I am sure: it's not about where it is, or what it's made of. I could care less if the streets really are made of gold. In God's economy, gold is so common he sees it as good only to walk on. What will make heaven heaven is who is there. I am looking forward to seeing my grandparents, my dad, the little brother or sister my mother miscarried between my brother and me, Linda's folks. But the one I'm really looking forward to seeing is the One who makes it all worthwhile; actually, the One who made it in the first place. Heaven will be heaven because Jesus Christ is in the center of it. So I guess I had better do a little reality check right now. If Jesus isn't at the center of my life here and now, what makes me think he will be at the center of it in eternity? And if he isn't the center of it in eternity, how can I call it heaven?
I'm glad to have driven to our old house today. It still holds many good memories. And just being there gave me opportunity to reflect not just on houses and homes, but on life. That's always a good thing, and something for which to give thanks.