She's 81. She lived in her dream home for 32 years with the man that she's been married to for 59. It is a large two story house that sits at the top of a large hill - the street lined with shade trees. It's a beautiful neighborhood, but a neighborhood she has had to say goodbye to. The house isn't empty; it's filled with items being prepared for the estate sale, and there are for sale signs in the yard. To be honest, it's not the house or the things in it that are hard for her to give up, it's knowing that she is in her final chapters, and the future is still very uncertain. But hasn't it always been uncertain? Isn't it uncertain for all of us? Do we know what's around the corner? My grandfather used to say, "It doesn't take long to live a life."
So that old house awaits a new family, and Mom and Dad have moved on to their new home, probably the last home on this earth, but not the last home they will ever know. They know they have a new one waiting for them that was prepared long ago. Jesus is just waiting for the perfect time, when all of the precious moments of their lives have been counted and complete. Until then, this is where you'll find them . . .
Mom has a special way about her, and one tradition that has always been important to her is the hospitable way that she says goodbye. Whenever we or other guests were at the big old house on the hill, Mom never let us walk out alone. It wasn't enough to hug us at the door. No, Mom had to walk us out to the car, and wave until we had driven out of view. In the last couple of years, the walk out to our cars has been too difficult so we placed a chair at the end of the garage for her to sit in. We raised the garage door, walked mom to her seat of honor, hugged, and waved until we were out of sight, hoping against hope that she and dad would make it back in to the house safely. In spite of her condition, she absolutely refused to give up her tradition - moments in time dedicated to saying goodbye.
There is no sidewalk, or driveway, or garage door now. It seemed so awkward the first time I had to say goodbye at their apartment door. Mom was still refusing to give up her tradition as she waved down the hall, this hall, until we were out of sight . . .
Seeing Mom wave down the hall just felt wrong for some reason. It was sweet and endearing how she continued as she always had, but waving down the hall just wasn't going to do. It soon dawned on me that my car was always parked just below the windows to their apartment. That's it! She can sit on the bench in front of her bedroom window, wave as we leave the building, and watch us drive away! Dad is always with her, but it is her thing - her way of saying, "I love you, and I will keep saying it until I can't say it anymore."
So here she sits waving at me through the window late one evening. I snap the picture, a memory of a moment that represents thousands of other moments. It's captured for the here and now, but embedded in my heart for eternity. I'll be there with her in that eternal home someday, and I'll tour the mansion, and I'll wave goodbye as I walk down a golden street until our next meeting, and the meeting after that. Because when that day comes, the meetings will never end.
At the top of my blog I have these words written, "Life is lived moment by moment. What we do with these moments, matters." Mom's not gone. She's very much alive. But her moments are dwindling, and so I stop and I record with camera and pen the moments like these. The moments that matter.