Today I headed to Knoxville to pick up the last of our things we left at our “old” house in Knoxville. We moved the same week we had our youngest child, Esther. So needless to say, we didn’t get everything the first move. It was weird to see the house empty and that clean. I had never seen it that way. When we first moved in, we had bought the house in “As is” condition. It had once been owned by an elderly lady who had passed away. The house went to her sister and she promptly put it on the market. We bought the house at the height of the housing bubble. However we did not fall victim to the traps that so many others did. We bought what we could afford, not what the bank said we could afford.
(I had learned my lesson years earlier in college. You never hear about the college student loan bubble, but I lived by it and saw the error of my ways. What is the college loan bubble? That’s what happens at the beginning of each college semester. You go down to the college student loan office. They tell you that you have 3,000 dollars in tuition due, BUT if you’d like you can borrow up to 5,000 dollars that semester. So being the mindless college student that you are you pause for a moment….ponder all the money you will make when you graduate, and say “WHERE DO I SIGN!” )
I digress. At least I learned my leason and instead of buying the McMansion we bought a small, 900 sq. ft. house on a nice little street. As I said, we bought it “As is” which means we were blessed with all the old, cat pee smelling furniture we wanted. I am positive that in the midst of all the knick-knacks we were left with there was something that probably would have made it on to Antiques Road Show. We sold as much as we could, made 700 dollars in a “Estate Sale” (loose use of the term), and took the whole family to a Japanese Steak house. Oh well, somebody in North Knoxville is sitting on a treasure, that may or may not smell like a tribe of cats.
So there we were. In our first house. It was everything a first house should be. It was small. It needed/needs a lot of work and it kept us grounded. So there we were packing up all that we owned. Moving up and out. And my wife stopped me, had me sit down, and then nostalgia came into the room like a welcomed friend. There we thought about the house. Thought about it as the first place our daughters came home to, thought about the time I put my hand through the shower wall getting Gideon out of the tub and created a huge hole, thought about all the walks we took together in the neighborhood, thought about all the door to door salesmen our dogs scarred away, thought about the neighbors lives we touched and that touched us, thought about the many times we would pray when an ambulance pulled up to the elderly neighbor’s home, the time I had to send the whole family away for the weekend while I tried to fixed some of the plumbing because Gideon flushed a whole package of wipes down the toilet, all the projects I started because demo is waaayyy faster and cheaper then actually fixing whatever it was I tore down, the fact that no matter where you were in our house you could always hear everything that was going on, the fact our house forced us to sleep Gideon and Ellis in the same room and their bond is deeper because of it, the fact that in the winter time we had to put plastic on our windows and shrink wrap them tight so as not to have an exorbitantly high utility bill, the fact that if you had a heater going in one room the coffee maker on in another and a light was on in the kitchen a fuse was bound to blow, the fact that there is a door frame that has tracked Gideon’s growth up to this point and is still in the house, and many other memories wrapped up in those 900 sq. ft.
Nostalgia is a funny thing. I don’t know how many times I thought we had made a mistake. The house was too small, needed too much work, but here we were thinking, we were really going to miss this house. (Technically we still own the home so all is not lost.) It wasn’t a mistake. It was worth it and I would do it again.
I thought to myself that nostalgia just might be God’s way of giving us a small glimpse into eternity. Nostalgia is that ability to look back on past events see the painful as progress, the frustrations as funny, the suffering as character building, the small moments become big, and it all seemed to go just as it was supposed to. At some point, when we are in the throne room, knees and head bowed because of the weight of glory that is before us, hearing those long awaited words “Well done my good and faithful servant’, we will look back on this life no matter the sacrifice and suffering, and say “It was all worth it.”