No Ordinary Home – Chap 14 Chronicles
“THEN what did Dad do?” we asked, eager to hear more of the ornery exploits of my father. “Um, Grandpa, could you hurry, though?” my brother requested. “Why? Ya gotta go somewhere?” “Kinda…” You see, as Grandpa was sharing all these horror stories from the childhood of my Dad, my grandmother was kicking, what she thought were the shins of my grandfather….when in fact, it was my brother. So eager was he to hear all the stories Grandpa had to share, that he endured the increasingly harder kicks for nigh on an hour. Yeah, he had somewhere to go – AWAY from Grandma!
His face was haggard and tired. It had been a long hard 5 years. Grandma’s first stroke rendered her bed-ridden and he had been there for her, every day, moment by moment, to care for the bride of his youth. Finally, his service to her had come to end – relief battled with grief for the key emotion. “Here….” he said, “I want you to have this.” He held his hand out. Clutched in his aging palm was her engagement ring. It was typical of the late 20’s – it had an illusion head diamond, surrounded by a few cluster diamonds. It wasn’t extravagant, but it was Grandma. “Oh Grandpa, I’d LOVE to have this, but will you do me a favor? Will you write out what you remember of proposing to Grandma? Will you write out for me what you remember of your wedding day?” He did – it took him a few months, it helped him grieve and when he presented the paper to me, it was accompanied by a pair of earrings – the cuff links he had worn in their wedding, altered a bit. They were his gift to me – an expression of his delight – of the process of remembering and recording for us all, his love and courtship of the “big-city” girl who had captured his “hill-billy” heart and held it for more than 60 years.
Gold faucets. Everything about the bathroom in the Hearst Castle is expensive, excessive and for our family, personal. You see, my mother-in-law’s father was the plumber responsible for creating lush beauty in Mr Hearst’s upstairs bathrooms. At a time when finding food was hard for some, my mother in law’s father was basking in wealth and opulence by day, coming home to forced simplicity at night. We’re likely the only tourists who went to the mansion, with hopes of getting a good glimpse of the water closet!
It was 1970 – and they were at the border of California. They were stopped and they were not going to allow them to take any produce into the state. Refusing to “waste good fruit” my father in law opened up the coolers and forced his family to sit at the side of the road and eat all the fruit in the car. They would go no further until all the produce had been consumed. He even made the guard eat an apple.
We like to take the children on little trips, through the area, that we call “Clark history trips.” We take them past Jeff’s childhood homes, we drive past our first apartment. We go past the hospital that was the birth place of most of our children. We want them to have a sense of who we are….who they are because of who we are.
These are the kinds of memories we have from my family – precious, but not eternal. The entire focus of Mrs Brazo’s book has been to challenge us to form memories for our children, for our families, but not just those of the here and now, but ones that will effect their lives for eternity. AND not only to celebrate them, but to record them for the encouragement of their souls.
When the Lord first began blessing us with children, we would take the child in arms, shortly after their birth and announce to them, “You, sweet baby are richly blessed. The Lord has placed you in our family – because of that, you are in a position to grow up and see Him do miraculous things.” You see, when money is short and blessings are great, that’s the only option to expect. And Father has done more than we could think or imagine.
It is those stories – the ones of the miraculous and totally GOD – that we desire to pass onto our children. From reading this book and being challenged by others in our lives, we have begun the process of chronicling the journey the Lord has chosen for us.
Mrs Brazo offers a final challenge I find rawther daunting – “to help our children have a vivid, shocking, powerful experience with God, while living in our homes.” She goes on to say, “this is most likely to happen if we are conscious every single day of the reality of God in our lives and in the lives of our children.” OH MY! There are days I’m grateful to be upright… let alone conscious….let alone conscious of the reality of God in MY life. BUT to be attentive – actively attentive – to see God’s hand moving in the lives of each of my children and drawing their attention to that…..WOW. What a responsibility. What a privilege. What a holy burden. A burden that is ours to carry, marked by awe and amazement, not affliction. It is a burden we find a joy to carry, but a burden none the less.
I love the reason she gives for doing this: “We also need memorials of God’s work in our lives. We need to be keenly aware of His moving and His power. Then we need to record those events so that other strugglers can be reminded that we also struggled. And God answered.”
What a testimony to send our children forth with, from our homes – into their own unordinary home – “And God answered.” OH may this be the testimony of our lips – recorded for the encouragement of our childrens’ souls. AND GOD ANSWERED………
(As a final note to this book, I would STRONGLY commend Jill Novak‘s “The Gift of Family Writing” to you. I believe you will find it to be a source of support as you strive to chronicle the goodness and faithfulness of our Lord.)