Echoes of an Empty House
All summer long I have been listening to echoes reverberating through our nearly empty parsonage in Arlington. Rebecca and I have been camping out in one barely furnished room and sleeping on borrowed beds waiting for our final moving day to arrive. The rest of the house is empty, magnifying the sound of every footstep and conversation, and making our hound, Duke, sound like a T-Rex. Suzanne said I even sound funny on the phone, like I'm down in a barrel or hollering through a megaphone. Just funny little echoes making little voices sound big and yet those echoes hold a promise that all these empty rooms will soon be filled.
But this week back in Sedalia I heard those echoes again, and it was a sad, melancholy moment. When all the packing and loading was finally completed, we gave our old house one final cleaning before our new renters moved in. We worked our way through the vacant rooms, sweeping the basement, vacuuming the bedrooms, dusting the shelves in the family room. That's when the echoes began, words and whispers, lots of laughter and more than a few tears, so many memories coming to life in the echoes of our empty house.
I could hear frightened little feet coming down the stairs to crawl in bed with us during a storm. A Christmas tree over in that corner and the frantic tearing of wrapping paper ripped and thrown aside. Shouts and hoots of laughter from the boys in the basement during yet another late night PlayStation marathon. Becca and her diva friends singing our halftime shows with her new karaoke machine. Suz taking pictures of the kids and their dates in front of the fireplace. "Smile! Jake, don't do that!" I could even pick up the gentle echo of those rare and real conversations when we listened and talked about the things that matter most, life and love, faith and family.
We were hearing fourteen years worth of echoes, memories of raising a family, echoes that turned a house into a home and now finally back to just a house again. Everything and everybody is gone now. Only the echoes remain.
One house empties and another house becomes a home, our new home. I'm thanking God today for the beautiful echoes of a very blessed life, my life, our life together. May they echo right on into eternity.