I can’t go anywhere in Hartsville without running into family friends. I had just arrived and stopped off first at the Walmart. Mr. Evans, one of the members of Mother and Daddy’s Sunday School class was coming out of the check out lane. His face lit up in a smile, as did mine. “Just got your Christmas card, ya’ll coming to Sunday School?” Not this time, I tell him. “Well, you know that’s the devil getting in your way!” We laugh.
It’s like this everytime I come home. I love it! It’s like a welcome mat the size of the town has been pulled out just for me. It’s a warmth that is genuine and real. Everyone there is in on this secret; Cities are nice places to visit, but real living only happens in small towns.
I pepper my cleaning assignments with trips to the cemetary, WalMart, and Ruth’s Drive-In, where early morning breakfasts and banter start my day off right. In comes my second cousin, Jimmy Dial. He and his sidekicks hold court at the large table in the left corner every weekday morning. Jimmy, with a shy sideways grin, takes the grilling from his cohorts about whether I should really claim him as family or not.
I even know the cemetary caretaker by name, Mary Ann. She and I catch up and discuss having Mother and Daddy’s girls’ names added to the marker. Sister Fran and I have discussed this, and after Anne’s passing, we wanted there to be a marker somewhere that said Mother and Daddy had three girls. It seems it’s a doable thing, and Mary Ann liked the idea.
I like the idea. I’d like to know that Hartsville knew I cared enough to want my name engraved upon a monument there; as all the precious folk and hilarious characters have engraved their names on my heart.
Dear Lord, I cannot even imagine the vastness of Your Creation in Heaven, Earth, and throughout the Spaces in between and beyond. I love the warmth and intimacy of just a few friends and family. Is that why You said You went to prepare a room-a mansion? There seems to be a scale there from room to mansion. Put me down for a small southern home with a large front porch, with room for friends and family to stop by, rock, or swing, and share stories and laugh until tears of joy stream down our faces. I can’t think of anything better for a simple southern girl like me, than to walk up that first day in Heaven onto my porch and be hugged and kissed and kidded. You make room for me amidst all the folks I’ve loved and missed. If it’s summertime, maybe there’ll be a churn of banana ice cream. Daddy, I know you’ll be making that. Thanks!
John 14:1-4 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” King James Version
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God ; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” New International Version
Psalm 30:5 Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!
When We All Get to Heaven
Author: Eliza Edmunds Hewitt 1898
Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
sing His mercy and His grace;
in the mansions bright and blessed,
He’ll prepare for us a place.
When we all get to heaven,
what a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
we’ll sing and shout the victory.
While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
clouds will overspread the sky;
but when traveling days are over,
not a shadow, not a sigh. [Refrain]
Let us then be true and faithful,
trusting, serving every day;
just one glimpse of Him in glory
will the toils of life repay. [Refrain]
Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
soon the pearly gates will open;
we shall tread the streets of gold. [Refrain]