Water from Home
I am in the final hours of my Christmas visit back to my birthplace. My home is in Florida, and has been for 35 years, but my roots run deep in the soil of south eastern Virginia. On my way here, I blogged about my need for a sense of belonging to a tribe and to walk on the soil of my ancestors.
Yet a little while ago, I realized the true purpose of my trip.
This has been a hard year. Actually, it’s been a very hard year. My elderly parents have had repeated health issues, with hospital stays and extensive rehab. Even as I write this, my mother is in rehab dealing with altered mental status; whether it is a reversible, only time will tell. Back in May, an undetected water leak displaced my family and forced 40-years-worth of possessions to be packed up and put in storage. Moving back in, downsizing and sorting continues to be a painful process. Add to it the spiritual lessons I have been learning...yeah, I am ready to call 2019 done.
In 2 Samuel 23, when David was in a stronghold, in the midst of an intense and long battle, he longed for a drink of water from the well near his home. When three courageous men broke through the Philistine camp and brought him water from home, he refused to drink it and poured it out as an offering to the Lord. Surely the acts of these mighty men made him feel loved and encouraged him to persist.
This trip was my drink of water from home. Water from home: the familiar. In the familiar I find comfort, renewal, refreshment, and encouragement to persist in the battle.
I slept between age-worn sheets which clothed my grandparents’ bed. The familiar blanketed me in a loving warmth that transcended time. My aunt knows how sentimental I am and her thoughtfulness blessed me beyond measure.
I attended worship service with multi-generations of family; my eyes were tear-filled with joy and my heart full. I savored the feeling…because worshipping every Sunday with family is an intense longing of my heart.
I loved every minute of the noisy Christmas Day with my paternal family. From the noisy dinner table to the chaotic gift-exchange to the after-dinner trivia game to the silly giggles with my cousin. Again, I savored every moment.
Two other times during the week, I sat around different dinner tables with maternal cousins, aunts and an uncle, whom I had not seen in way too many years, I loved every word of every family-tale told of days gone by. Some stories get told at every gathering, but they are worth hearing every time. I treasure the strong and loving hugs as I departed.
I sang along to classic 70s tunes with my aunt as we traveled about town. We watched predictable Hallmark movies, laughed about memories of way-back-when and ate way too much.
I turned the pages of a family Bible that belonged to my paternal great-great-grandmother. I ran my hand down the pages where my great-great-grandmother, great-grandmother and grandmother documented births, deaths and marriages. The change in penmanship indicated the passing down of the Bible. I was delighted when I discovered, tucked between the pages, a few photos of my ancestors taken in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
I sat out on the back porch enjoying unseasonably warm weather. Carolina chickadees, by the dozen – and my favorite songbirds - popped in and out of the porch-side shrubs. While they did not delight me with their song, they noisily expressed their irritation at my proximity with the birdfeeder. I have always heard the Chickadee from afar, so I was thrilled to see them up close. I found great joy in watching them watch me.
I paused to listen when nearby church bells acknowledged the hour. And it was then that I realized this time in Virginia was indeed my “water from home.”
I was comforted, refreshed, renewed and encouraged – all which I desperately needed to continue in the battle that awaits me.
So, I will pour my water out as an offering of thanks to the Lord for what He has done and what He is going to do.
I am so very thankful for the water from home.
At that time David was in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was at Bethlehem. David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 2 Sam 23:14-15