For 22 years I have been stopping at this intersection, deciding to turn left or right depending on where my day is taking me. I have watched changes take place at the lot across from the intersection. Twenty-two years ago there was an old farm-house, probably one of the first houses built in the area. It wasn’t much of anything , just a faded green shingled two-story house. It was a big square box, no porch to sit on, no stately pillars to beckon visitors, in fact it looked as if it had been abandoned years ago.
After a few years the old place was sold. Changes began to happen. The old farmhouse was torn down, the weeds cut back and construction began on a new modern designed home. Great care was taken in every detail. Several different roof lines, a dormer for the bedroom, pillars at the front door and windows that covered entire walls. Each day I would come to the intersection I could watch the construction of this new home take place. When the detached garage began to be built, my husband came home all excited to tell me that the owner of the place was trying a new style construction on the garage. My husband, being in construction himself was excited to go and meet the owner and take a look at this revolutionary feat. I didn’t pay much attention to what he was talking about, I was just hoping this new way of building and its exorbitant cost would not make it into the construction of our house.
Soon after the new owner moved in, beautifully laid out landscaping began to take form. The Japanese Maple, Alaskan Weeping Cedar tree, the Ornamental Cherry tree were planted in just the right places to create a beautiful scene. The field of grass was manicured to look as if it were a golf course. Over the years the place was meticulously taken care of, no cost spared.
Just a few years ago the place began to show signs of disrepair. The trees had not been pruned in the spring, the grass in the field was growing tall and going to seed. Rumor was the owner had suffered a stroke, there was no one to keep up the property. Soon there were signs that no one was keeping up the house either. It looked as if it had been abandoned. There were signs of break in and garbage strewn around. Soon a post was put across the driveway to make entrance into the property more difficult. This beautiful home, in just few short years was looking as if it had been standing there for year and years, unloved and uncared for.
My man did some investigating and found out the owner had passed away, his mortgage was upside down. His children did not want the burden this house had become, so they quit paying the mortgage and taxes. The house was foreclosed on and there it has sat for the last few years, abandoned.
The other day when I came to the stop sign and I looked at the deserted house I felt a wave of melancholy sweep over me. Here was a place, a home that was a dream of one man. He spent much of his time, energy, and money creating a place of prestige and beauty. He was the first one in the area with the innovative construction. All the time he sacrificed, all the money he spent all the care he had taken to build a beautiful house was in vain, here it sat decaying with each passing day.
I began to reflect on what was important in my life, where do I spend the bulk of my time and energy, is it in things that will perish and decay after I die? Are the things I put my soul into important to only me? Will my family leave what I hold dear to deteriorate over time? Will these things that seem to make a big difference now become a burden to children later? Will my children and those I love, cherish the treasures I have left them or dread the mess they are left to clean up?
Or is it possible I am leaving a legacy of memories of time spent together, games played, meals enjoyed , laughter shared , the memory of being loved and cared for. That is the legacy I long to leave, the memories I desire to give them. I will ask them what is important to them and I will listen to what brings them joy. And each time I stop at this intersection,I will be reminded: what is the legacy I am leaving.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where
moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where
moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and
steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus Christ (Matthew 6:19-21