May 18, 2021

Weekly Reflection – Leaving’ This Ole House

Weekly Reflection – Leaving’ This Ole House

Leaving’ This Ole House: My wife and I have spent this week in Alabama cleaning out my brother-in-law’s house. As he can no longer care for himself, he is in hospital and will be moving to a long-term care facility. This sort of activity usually occurs after someone passes. But in this instance, it is in preparation for his passing. And he is admittedly “ready to go,” although God will have the final word as to the timing.

It is sobering to be stuffing trash bags with a loved one’s lifetime of accumulated “stuff.” Friends who have cared for him in recent years are coming later today to select items they might like to have. We have our vehicle loaded with other treasures that will return home with us. The rest will go to charity or the trash dump. It is sobering indeed!

Stored in two very old “lawyer’s bookcases” is an extensive collection of antique books that we went through last evening. Hiding among the collection was a six-volume set of Tennyson’s poems published in the late 1800s. The first poem my wife came across as she randomly opened Volume 1 simply leaped off the page. It speaks of an old house that has served its purpose, needs a huge amount of maintenance, and will in due course be torn down and forgotten. This poem could have been written with us in mind!

Kenneth’s windows are cracked, and water barely trickles through the old kitchen faucet. Cobwebs adorn every room, including one particularly impressive arrangement that streams from the bed’s headboard to an adjacent bedside lamp. In a large storage room are largely forgotten items, including memories from his parents and grandparents. A nearly new fly-fishing set sits unused in a corner, as are several tool chests that were part of the family’s trucking business. No longer are laughter and joy reverberating off the old house’s walls. All is silent as the prior occupant prepares to move on to his “mansion in the sky.”

Each of us will eventually face a similar scenario. Our worldly possessions and life-long memories will fade as we transition to a new path, a path that Christians believe will be wonderful, one that Jesus is preparing for those who love him and walk like he walked, a new creation in a new dimension. When that time comes, our “ole house” will be but a memory as we stroll among those who have gone before us and now share a new life in Christ.

May we be worthy of the path that has been prepared for each of us. And may God bless those who come to clean out our lifetime of memories.

Blessings and peace,

Chaplain Allen

This Ole House

“This Ole House” is an American popular song written by Stuart Hamblen and published in 1954.  While not as poetic as Tennyson’s poem, it communicates with eloquence the emotions we are feeling this week.

This old house once knew my children
This old house once knew my wife
This old house was home and shelter as we fought the storms of life
This old house once rang with laughter
This old house heard many shouts
Now she trembles in the darkness when the lightnin’ walks about

Ain’t gonna need this house no longer
Ain’t gonna need this house no more
Ain’t got time to fix the shingles
Ain’t got time to fix the floor
Ain’t got time to oil the hinges
Nor to mend the window pane
Ain’t gonna need this house no longer
I’m getting ready to meet the saints


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