Recently I moved! It is sometimes hard to fathom, but I made a major move from a place I love to a place I have known for many years and know I will grow to love. For 15 years I lived in the small town of Marion, Arkansas in Eastern Arkansas just across the river from Memphis, Tennessee. This is right in the middle of Mississippi River Delta. I had the privilege of pastoring for 15 years at the First Baptist Church of Marion, Arkansas where we saw God do some amazing things!
One of the constants for me over all these years was one place...my home! Right there on Apperson Drive in the RiverTrace Subdivision my family and I spent many days and nights of life. We lived there surrounded by our best friends and many acquaintances. When we first found that house it was under construction. We were able to provide input into all its finishes and colors. Then, before moving into the house, I got a call that the house had burned to the ground during the night. This was not the auspicious start to a new life in Marion we were expecting. Still, we loved where the house was located and we rebuilt the house from the foundation up and made that place our home for all those years.
Most recently we sold our house to prepare for the move of my wife, my daughter, and all of our belongings to Lexington, Tennessee where I am now the new pastor at First Baptist Church of Lexington. When you are preparing to sell a house there is a lot of preparation that must take place.
About two weekends ago I went back to Marion to do many of the chores needed to prepare to move. I was cutting the grass at the house like I had done for many years. If you know me then you know that I am not the most emotional of people, but something happened to me that day cutting grass. Maybe it was nostalgia, or maybe it was the pollen and grass clippings flying through the air, but as I cut grass in that backyard tears started streaming down my face. I started remembering....
I started remembering when we bought that house and the great pride and joy we had to own such a nice house in such a great neighborhood where God had called us. I remembered laying the sod in that backyard and just hoping it would grow. I remember my best friend Rob coming over with an tractor to dig holes and put up that old fence (I have no idea how it is still standing). I remembered seeing houses being built behind us where once there was nothing but an open field. Memories flooded my mind. The tears didn't come from those things, but something much greater.
I rode around in circles in that backyard and the tears came when I thought of little girls...my little girls playing in that backyard. Those little girls played on a swing set and slide that has long since been removed. Little girls who stomped around in boots in the mud in that backyard. As I drove in circles around its rusted remains I thought of little girls who jumped on that trampoline with their friends and American girl dolls as they squealed, laughed and giggled together. Little girls who played in their play house called "Kaylaville" that was painted all white and purple with purple butterflies all around it and flowers planted out front. I remembered the time the cat went missing for several days only to be found locked up inside the Kaylaville playhouse starved to death and wondering what she was doing in this family with little girls. Little girls who grew up and played with their friends out back with a makeshift volleyball net while their mom and dad cooked them and all their friends hot dogs and hamburgers just because its fun to have a house full of little girls. That backyard that hid a new blue Mustang for when one of the little girls turned 16 and walked into that yard to find it with a huge red bow on top. You see...Happy memories bring happy tears when you ride in circles on your mower in your backyard one more time.
Now I am going to have a new backyard behind another new house in another new place. I don't know how big it will be and I am not sure what it is going to look like, but I pray to my Lord that my new backyard will be filled with memories, love, happy times, and maybe even more little girls one day.