My husbands GPS took us through a maze of backroads that claimed to be highways through a host of “used to be” towns on our way to Florida. We drove past farm after farm of pecan trees. We swept by boarded up, decaying, rusty sign flapping, weeds overtaken buildings that were once homes, churches, gas stations and Mom and Pop stores. Now and then I’d spot a home not yet given over to the elements of age and time where signs of a struggle to keep both at bay was often evident.
A person whose mind thinks differently would probably see the same roadside sightings and calculate the costs of the waste. And perhaps the cost of tearing it all down and beginning again.
Those whose talents lay in restoration and contracting might look at details I didn’t see in order to determine if anything could be salvaged. Could wood be reclaimed? Could anything be repurposed?
Me? All I could think of centered on what I couldn’t see…the people who had once occupied the towns and their buildings. Someone had built “Angel’s Kitchen” from cinder block. Someone had entered it’s single wooden door and found a seat and ordered a meal. Worshippers had climbed the once stout steps into the small single room churches. Children had darted among their friends, families and neighbors as mothers herded them towards the pews. Pop had pumped gas for a farmer’s wife while Mom bagged a teenager’s grocery list items for their grandmother. These towns, homes, businesses and churches were once occupied by PEOPLE and I wondered onto pages of my journal, “where did they go”?
Did the lure of city life outweigh the simpllicity of small town life for young adults who moved away and never returned except for the holidays? Had hard times sent people away, unable to keep mind, body and soul afloat under the crush of financial burdens? Did widows and widowers pass on leaving their worldly possessions to no one and they crumble even now into dust?
I’ve no doubt someone at some time will come along and most likely knock the old down and build up new. These silent testiments to lives now past will not stand against time forever. It all will cycle around again given enough time.
How like our relationships with God. In our hearts are decaying reminders of our promises to do for Him. In our minds are memories of what seemed like easier times. Our souls recall the “mountain top” moments with God and the valley wanderings when He seemed so far away. Lessons learned today we will, in our pride and arrogrance or simple forgetfullness, have to learn again.
And like these now abandoned towns waiting for the touch of a master’s hand with a master design for renovation we so often wait for God tol bring forth life again of our abadoned towns, our broken hearts. Life cycles on and on, never stopping to rest or re-invent itself, ever cycling, ever changing…
We pass on past the lost towns and look forward to “civilization” again. I most likely will not pass through these places again. But as our hotel comes into sight I’m reminded God sees these places, He knows the people who lived and loved there and He will bring forth for His glory the next cycle of life.