… home…

There is a lot of building activity going on these days– in our yard. Bird couples are busy, busy constructing  new homes for their little ones. I watch a winged pair check out a possible new site for their home on the patio, the front porch, or in a bush.  And then others return to the same home as last season. All are determined to build, prepare and secure the perfect spot for “home”.

This photo shows a “home” for a dove couple; it is the same dwelling they created last year on our daughter’s patio.(Sheryl in the Nashville, Tennessee area.) They birthed five… that’s 5 sets of baby doves in one spring/summer. Now, they’re back for another fruitful time!

Wonder what’s so special about this place between the ceiling and the fan blades on this patio? Whatever it is, this couple has found “home”.

The basic need of any living creature is shelter; we call it “home”. Our homeland birds are building shelters, providing safety and security… a place of commitment and love in their winged way.

The basic need of a marriage is shelter; we call it “home”, providing similar features of a well designed bird nest. I would add acceptance and intimacy are needed in our human homes, though I suspect it must get quite intimate in this cozy nest , erected this week in a cardboard box of trash bags. This is my favorite kind of “home”… look closely and you can feel the softness, the warmth, the kindness, the care gone into the building of this “home”.

What does “home” mean? One meaning is the intangible feeling you get in a location, a sense of peace, joy from loved ones in an environment where everyone feels welcomed. “Home is not easy to define, but you know when you’re there.”

Fifty nine years ago today, this very day in 1964, Tom and I picked up tools to build our home. Would you believe we have changed building sites 25 times in 59 years! (The average life address change for Americans is 11.4; we are way above average in this statistic!) But we are still using the same building materials!

We opened a box, labeled Secrets to a Long Marriage, March 14, 1964, furnished with the necessary tools for the building of a home after the wedding.  Just imagine having at your fingertips all the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control one needs to live in a marriage relationship. (Galatians 5:22)

Everyone knows there is no possible way to build a perfect human dwelling, but kindness, along with forgiveness, are truly most important tools, even when walls can crumble.  We are often asked if we are newly married, even after these many years; this makes us laugh!  “You are so very kind to one another,” they add.

I remember the first time I read Deuteronomy 24:5: “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year, he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.” I thought, if this is so important that  it takes a year to begin constructing a home, what should one do every day on this entire journey of marriage?

We have spent these 59 years building a marriage. Yes, the address changes and at times, it changed  often, but the need for building commitment, trust and acceptance never changes. There is always something new to build. to redo or to tear down.

Early on I just believed  Tom was perfect. No doubts. I was young and immature, right? I had come from a broken home, and entered marriage, believing we would live happily ever after. By the time I understood more of life, a truth dawned. Of course, he wasn’t perfect. Yet, by not focusing on his imperfections, those things he wasn’t, I continue to discover  all the good things he is. And if I could have changed anything, even one tiny flaw, he would not have been the same Tom. This tool of acceptance is an important one in any marriage.

Tom’s first funeral in his pastorate was for a young husband and father of two boys; he had been mowing his yard, went in to rest, and died of a heart attack. Tom has had hundreds of funerals since that day, but that first one set a tone for our beginning years: I will live and love you today, this NOW. We may not have tomorrow.Picture at Sheryl’s this week.

A few days ago, Tom noticed a brown thrasher with a twig in its mouth circling an area where this couple has built their nest for the last five years.  But, there was a problem. Tom had destroyed the home site six weeks earlier, pulled the bush up by its roots; it is no more!  He said, as he watched the confused bird fly around, “He (or she) is looking for home. I guess birds are like people… we’re all looking for home.”

And so we are.

“I long to dwell in Your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings” (Psalm 61:4). We long for two homes, an earthly home and a heavenly one.

Gratitude floods over these keys as I give praise for the “home” Tom and I continue to build, even after 59 years.  It is a fun place to live!

About oct17

The little girl in me loves bird watching, butterflies, sunrises, sunsets, walks in the rain; the adult I am enjoys the same. I sense God's awesomeness in all of life--what wonder there is in slicing a leek or cutting open a pomegranate. I have many favorite things--a formation of Canadian geese flying overhead, the giggles of my grand daughters, the first ripe watermelon in summer, snowflakes on my face--these gifts from my heavenly Father delight me continually.
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12 Responses to … home…

  1. Barbara Dillard says:

    Congratulations and I sure enjoyed your story today. Beautiful written. For us it’s been 64 years. I miss seeing you both. Love Barbara.


  2. Roxie Bogart says:

    Awesome, Barb! Thank you for the lesson… the reminder, and the pictures. Very true words! These kind of results certainly don’t come about from the “me” attitude which is so prevalent in our society today. John and I will soon be to 51 years!!


    • oct17 says:

      So true, Roxie. In a successful marriage, it is never about “ME” —it is all about the other. And that is contrary to the culture today! Congratulations on 51… awesome! Miss you…


  3. Edward Adkins says:

    You and Tom have always been an inspiration to me and Cindy. Such a great example of how to treat each other


  4. Glenda w Ferguson says:

    Yes, we look forward to our home here, but more importantly one
    day to that heavenly home we long for more and more each and every day in seeing our Jesus.
    My home here is love, for Sam proves his love for me every day in how he meets my needs. The same qualities I loved about him in 1965, are the same qualities I love about him today, 2023. Oh, he is not perfect, but neither am I. God is still working on us both for His honor and glory.
    I love nature and all God has created, but I love the CREATOR more than the created.
    Creation teaches us many lessons if we stop long enough to learn. God’s Word teaches us more when we also stop long enough to hear what He says to us and applies it to our everyday life.
    I love you and Tom, for I see Sam and me when I look at you two. Life has its ups and downs and so have we, but we weather the storms of life for He sees us through those storms and brings us out much stronger. In our weaknesses, He makes us stronger.


  5. Elaine Mount says:

    Very sweet! I too watch our year to year birds build in same top post of front porch. They build their nest have their young, then they fly away!
    Congrats on 59 years!
    Love yall!
    Elaine Mount


  6. Richard Long says:

    What a precious model you have set. Love you both so much. Richard


  7. Lori Harvey says:

    Nice thanks


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