This post is going to be a bit out of the ordinary DIY posts I write. Just as the world around us is changing ever so rapidly, so is my post for this week.
How are you doing in the midst of this pandemic? Everything is changing day by day, hour by hour. Six months ago, who could have imagined the changes we’re experiencing now?
Back in the 60’s and 70’s, I grew up by a tiny town named ‘Endeavor’. Endeavor was a bucolic little town on the banks of the Fox River. ‘Mayberry’ through and through!
My grandmother, the best cook on the face of the earth… (ever!) owned a diner she ran out of an old RR dining car, (think Mickey’s Diner style). Everybody in Endeavor knew everybody else there. They all took such pride in their homes with abundant vegetable and flower gardens in nearly every yard. Of course, my grandma had the best tulips of all. 😉
We lived in the country, a couple miles from town. Mom worked in town at the bank and dad was a farmer.
My elementary school building was originally built in 1903 for a highly regarded and University accredited school, ‘Christian Endeavor Academy’. In the 1920’s the academy closed and eventually the building became the public school. As a little kid going to school there, I loved that old Victorian red brick building. The windows were huge, the wood floors creaked, the stone porch on the side of the building was one of my favorite places to play at recess.
As I was driving home from Ohio last fall, I was feeling melancholic and decided to take a little detour and go back ‘home’. Even though my parents moved away many years ago, and I have no family left in Endeavor, I still wanted to see the places held dear in my heart.
As I got closer, and pulled into town, the Billy Joel song ‘Scenes from an Italian Restaurant’ kept playing in my head…
then the king and the queen went back to the green but you can never go back there again…”Billy Joel
Nothing in Endeavor was how I remembered it to be. It wasn’t that my memory failed me, it was that my blessed little town had changed. It seemed that no one took pride in maintaining their lawns, let alone have any gardens. The buildings were decrepit and looked like they hadn’t been cared for in decades.
I drove to the sight of my elementary school. As I approached it, the lack of maintenance was coming into view.
My beautiful old elementary school was abandoned. The changes over the past years, stripping out the beautiful old windows and other historic elements, were obvious on it’s tired exterior.
Stop after stop, the little grocery store, the former bank building, even my grandmother’s house… one after another were sad reminders of how easily things on this earth turn to decay.
I made my way out of town and drove the once familiar country roads to my family farmhouse. When my parents bought that farm it was in disrepair.
I remember how hard they worked to renovate the farmhouse and bring life, and lots of vegetables, back to the farm and land. My dad was a vegetable farmer, providing amazing homegrown goodies for many local stores, families and travelers as he stocked the vegetable stand our family owned and ran.
Sadly our farmhouse, that I still dream about, wasn’t spared from the drastic changes. Both our beautiful barn and grainery were gone, as well as the huge circle driveway. What was left was barely a shadow of the lovingly restored farmhouse I remembered.
The Barn Roof
We had many friends in Endeavor when I was little. Ed and Mina were dear friends that lived down the road from us. They were older folks and owned a small farm. The country road separated the house and the barn.
Times, economically speaking, were tough back in the 60’s and 70’s. You did what you could and were thankful for the work. One of the extra jobs my folks did, was paint the roof of Ed and Mina’s barn.
That was a crazy steep roof too!
As I sat in the front yard under the huge pine tree by Mina’s house, I watched my parents work from across the road. I can still see them secured by ropes that were anchored to the tractor on the opposite side of the barn.
It was scenes like that that speak volumes in my head of perseverance and endeavoring to continue on.
My parents also taught me about God and the importance of faith through their living examples.
About a mile from our farm was our church, an antique country church that looked like a Christmas card.
I was so happy to see that the church building was still standing and looked to still be actively attended. Amazingly, the old church looked pretty much how I remembered it, though the windows were replaced and they have an addition in the back that includes running water and an actual flushing toilet. (yep, prior to that we only had an outhouse)
As much as I love this antique church building, it was the truth I learned inside the walls of it that are my lasting strength.
This last week, amidst the rapid fire announcements of one closing after another, my husband and I received news from our son and daughter-in-law. Their 2 year old little girl was gravely sick with labored breathing and a low grade fever.
The prayer chain started as friends and family poured prayers out for our little granddaughter, Maddie.
My daughter-in-law has great perseverance. She could see the medicine the first doctor prescribed wasn’t having an impact, in fact Maddie’s condition continued to decline as she was experiencing only very shallow breathing. It was because of that perseverance that she took her to the emergency room at the hospital to get another opinion. There, triage realized Maddie’s oxygen level was low and immediately admitted her to the hospital. Even though the x-rays didn’t show pneumonia, the doctor could hear it in her lungs. They ordered blood work, and a few hours later those tests revealed that Maddie had a very rare type of bacterial infection. The doctor told my daughter-in-law and son how good it was that they brought her in when they did! They said the medicine the previous doctor had given her wouldn’t have had any effect on this type of bacteria, thus her rapid decline.
After 3 or 4 days in the hospital on oxygen, getting extreme care, Maddie was able to go home to finish her recovery. The doctor then explained how very serious her illness was and the level of care that she will need to keep her safe from illnesses now that her immunity has been so compromised.
Maddie was so fortunate when she went to the hospital, there weren’t any shortages of oxygen ventilators and isolated rooms for her. But that isn’t the case everywhere. Even this hospital was preparing for the huge influx of Coronavirus patients expectantly looming around the corner.
We are so thankful for God’s healing on Maddie, and still praying for her strength to be fully restored.
But you know, “strength” is really a misnomer, right? This Coronavirus pandemic is a humbling reminder of how delicate our strength really is. In a second it can be diminished. With tragic stories as the virus sweeps through cities around the world, it’s hard not to feel fear and worry how it may affect us and our loved ones.
Letting fear and worry control us isn’t productive though. It confuses our thoughts. I will choose to endeavor to be wise and go a different route
I have to go back… not to my childhood home, it has changed… Billy Joel was right, ‘You can never go back there again’ because earthly decay will have its way. I have to go back to my true strength.
Do you not know? Have you not heard?Isaiah 40: 28-31
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
29 He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
30 Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
31 Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.
Here are a few more posts about me and why I blog:
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