Maybe it’s the graduation celebration, the birthday season Spring is to our family, maybe it was the walk around Nanny and Papaw’s House, or sitting around and talking much with so many of the grandsons and great-grandsons Papaw and Nanny loved so much – but Father’s Day is coming – and Papaw’s legacy is how he taught through example his twelve grandsons and his son to not only be good men, but to be good husbands and the best of fathers. This post with its barns is a re-post – but within it are so many things Papaw – and so many things Nanny. In this Father’s Day season, not only am I thankful for the father my husband is to our sons and grandchildren – I am so very thankful for this father who taught me how beautiful a father’s love – and a Papaw’s love can be.
My husband and I were driving to town when we passed a white clapboard house nestled under big shade trees. Standing tall and sturdy next to the house, just the right amount of space to the left was a big, old barn. It reminded me of a knight standing ready to protect his lady.
A For Sale sign was in the yard.
“Your house is for sale,” my husband said. He knows how much I love old houses. This one was a red tin-roofed, two-story with a balcony above the front porch. A house with a porch – a real porch, wide enough for a swing and chairs. It had lots of windows, too. A house with lots of windows looks like a house where its inhabitants chose happiness. It seems like it would be filled with stories of people who loved life fully, both inside and out.
A house with a barn, or a barn with a house, would know of barn owls, chipmunks, barn cats and sparrows, goats, chickens, dogs, and cows. Maybe lambs, too. Wheel barrows, water troughs, muck rakes, forks, hammers and crowbars wouldn’t gather dust or get lost from lack of use. A weather vane, too – on top of the barn, along with a barometer. I wonder if that would be more reliable than television weather forecasters and radar.
Words and phrases like seed-time, reaping a harvest and storehouse would be common place. Plowing, gathering, threshing and winnowing, knowing how to collect wood for and how to build a fire – well, those would be every day living things, every day working out the physical examples of God’s spiritual principles. I think that would help his spiritual message plant somewhere deep in our souls.
About four weeks ago, they tore down that white clapboard farmhouse that had stood beside its barn for longer than a lifetime – to make way for a new neighborhood. Bulldozers and gravel trucks bellowed freely now between where the house had been and the barn stood, its life companion gone. I pulled in and took a photo of the barn before they tore it down, too. What good is an empty barn in a field replaced with yards and houses? A few days later, it was bulldozed down. They didn’t take it apart to rebuild somewhere else. A heap of brokenness, someone burned it up a few days ago. It saddens me.
It saddens me, just like it saddens me that my great-grandmother and grandfather’s farmhouse burned down after my Uncle Jim died. The milk barn is overgrown with weeds and viney things that wouldn’t have been allowed to grow near either the house or the barn. The barn roof is falling in. Sometimes, I want to go back, to feel the stories, to sit on the porch steps worn with the footprints of those whose story set up mine, whose faith stories have become a storehouse of blessing, a rich spiritual inheritance that point to relationship with God. But the porch, along with the house, are no longer there for sitting and remembering.
The stories are being forgotten – and the buildings aren’t there to retell them. These stories, they’re the love and faith stories, these farmhouses and barns. If the walls could talk, they would tell over-coming stories, forgiveness stories, being born and born again stories, funny stories, loss and crying stories, cat and mouse stories, laughing stories, every day ordinary stories, growing up stories, feast and famine stories.
The farmhouse remembers the children’s bedtimes and where the jam, apples, butter and potatoes were stored. It knows what Christmas smelled like and what the cooling breeze in summer hotness felt like. It knows the sound of big and little feet on the floorboards and which steps creak in the stairwell. It knows the goodnight stories and songs, and the sound of little ones breathing in sleep and the bigger ones sawing in sleep. It knows the challenges that spilled over, disrupting its peace, shaking its hope and faith. It knows how the hard was softened, and that love which never gives up lasts a lifetime. The farmhouse, while a hive of activity, is where the place of refreshing lives, where the broken can be made whole. It is where God’s word is read and then walked out to the barn, to the neighbors, and into town.
The farmhouse and the barn,
a boy and his girl,
a mom and a dad,
a grandmother and grandfather,
a barn and his farmhouse,
a farmhouse and her barn,
It’s a love story of give and take, provision and comfort,
of small town entrepreneurs in charge of their own destiny
where a full barn allows a house to become a home full of heart.
the barn is like the spirit of a man, the farmhouse the spirit of the woman
a symbiotic kind-of-love
He braves the harsh elements to fill the barn with the stuff comfort and security are made from. From the storehouses of barn he brings – and from the heart of the house, she gives. . . .
He gives her the grain – and she gives back bread.
He gives her the wool – and she gives back scarves, hats, sweaters and socks.
He gives her the cotton – and she stitches together crazy quilts for the bitter cold times.
He tears and she mends.
He gives honor and love; and she gives it right back.
He gives her trust to be who she is, and she gives him respect to be who he is.
He invites God into every dusty corner of the barn of himself,
and she invites God into every corner of the farmhouse of herself.
He gives her children, and she gives him a legacy,
but together they give their children an inheritance of blessing.
Each gives the other purpose; one without the other are incomplete.
Side by side,
storm after storm,
quiet after quiet,
year after year
the farmhouse and her barn
the barn and his farmhouse
They just might fade from memory, may even be exchanged for a different kind of living. The inheritance, though, it runs deep into the very fiber of a God-designed DNA. While the barn might be torn down, along with the farmhouse, and the faith and love stories forgotten, God redeems the faith, hope and love in story – he has the floor plan to rebuild what was forgotten, to redeem those who belong to the story.
The farmhouse and the barn,
a boy and his girl,
a mom and a dad,
a grandmother and grandfather
who built something more
than a barn and a farmhouse
“Listen, dear friends, to God’s truth,
bend your ears to what I tell you.
I’m chewing on the morsel of a proverb;
I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths,
Stories we heard from our fathers,
counsel we learned at our mother’s knee.
We’re not keeping this to ourselves,
we’re passing it along to the next generation—
God’s fame and fortune,
the marvelous things he has done” ~ Psalm 78: 1-6
**None of the farmhouses pictured belong to the barns in the photographs. The first barn above is the one I discuss. The first house is one that was torn down a few years ago.
“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,” ~ Proverbs 13:22a
Remember Me Monday: #41 & Linky
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week
***All photos marked with Muddy Photography or © Blue Cotton Memory or used within Blue Cotton Memory blog(s) belong Blue Cotton Memory. Going forward, photos will be marked with Muddy Photography.