This morning, the house is quiet and there are only two of us awake. Make that three of us. Dakota my eight year old black Labrador retriever, Bugs the ever existing gray dwarf Netherlands rabbit and myself. Outside its cold with a rare two inches of snow lying, like a cotton quilt, over the ground. Last night the last of our four children still living at home, went to stay the night with her big sissy who lives in town. Hannah is a witty, loving, animal adoring spark of utter sincerity. There is no pretense about her. She simply has a gift of genuine compassion for animals of all walks of life; including the ones walking - or should I say, stumbling through the ever changing landscape of this thing we call life.I sleep well at night. Usually about as soon as my head hits the pillow. I, to my wife’s utter disbelief, fall deeply and trustingly into a world of sweet dreams and restfulness. Patricia, as it were, does not share my ability to coast so easily into dreamland. Her mind ever churning away, thinking of what she did the day before, motherly concern for how the children are fairing, as well as what the new day will in the morning bring. Of course, after an hour or two she resistantly gives in to the night. After a real good night’s rest, I, more often than not, arise early ready to begin my day. Usually enjoying the quiet morning of rest and reflectivity, I try to prolong her well earned sleep, being as quiet as possible.This morning, with Hannah away, I took it upon myself to feed Bugs the rabbit. Heading into the garage I scooped a nice big heaping bowl of rabbit food and threw in a couple of blueberry yogurt treats, which I might add smells good enough to be tempting. No, I didn’t, wouldn’t or couldn’t eat rabbit treats, or could I? No really I didn’t! I wonder, do rabbits ever sleep? Morning night or noon, I never see her eyes closed. Tamed rabbits live to be fourteen or fifteen years old. Lets see – Hannah is sixteen and bugs is six…looks like bugs is going to college in a couple of years! Well, you don’t think I am going to devote the next four years taking care of a rabbit do you?Opening her cage, I slid the food right up to her nose. The aroma of those tempting treats quickly defusing their yummy fragrance throughout the cage. Bugs refused to eat! Instead she edged her body as close to the door as possible, as if she was trying to tell me something. With her water bottle full, plenty of food in her dish, I am now at a loss as to what she might be holding out for. So, thinking of nothing else to do for her, I reached in and offered her a duty pet. You know, one of those “you’re a good rabbit rubs.” Her ears instantly perked up and I quickly began to understand her priority list. Bugs lives for the affection, not the food. Still in the throes of a quiet morning to myself, I couldn’t stop thinking about that rabbit. She has a nice rabbit house, water, food and even yogurt treats. But what she most wanted was that which made her house a home.Lately, the news has been inundated with stories about the mortgage meltdown. People, by the thousands are losing their homes houses. What an unimaginable thing to have to endure. In two thousand three, after a hectic six month building project, Patricia and I, along with our four teenage children moved into our dream home. Our intentions - to live there for the rest of our lives. It was to be the place where our children and grandchildren would fondly think of as home. Though I understood the sacred nature of home life, I, like so many, broke the cardinal rule and took out a second mortgage to establish a new business. In my heart of hearts I hoped for the best, but in the end, through unforeseen obstacles was forced to sell. Over the course of the next two years, the last remaining years of young adulthood for my three oldest children, we have moved three times. I didn’t plan it this way, but nonetheless, have lived in three separate houses since having to sell our dream home. Things have been rather strenuous.
Today, we are not alone, for many families find themselves in a similar situation. They also long for a house of their own. After all it’s the American dream, right? Not necessarily!Well, I for one, no longer want a house! In spite of having lived in three rentals in the last two years, I have learned something very important. We never lost our home. It is not just a cliché – home really is where the heart is. Being in the landscape border business, I see a lot of different houses up close and in person. For the most part, I am deeply encouraged by the atmosphere I witnessed. Families enjoying their little slice of heaven on Earth. Doing what they can to make it the greatest place to be.Vacations, we are told, are really tapering off during these unprecedented times. As people are forced to reestablish their financial priorities, the trend is to stay close to where they live. Today, more than ever, people are re-learning the real value of home. Indeed, there is no place like home. When kids go to school and parents to work, at the end of the day, regardless of how tough or exciting it may have been, nothing warms them more than the thought of going home!Of course, I have found that not all houses are homes. Some of our clients, in pursuit of a house, forgot to build a home. While in pursuit of a house, they lost sight of the real meaning of home and family. And now, they rarely see one another through the course of an evening. Don’t get me wrong! They have worked hard, putting in long hours in effort to provide the best food, clothing, cars, and toys. But in the end, they find themselves drowning in the empty promise of materialism. They are virtual strangers in their own castles.This morning Bugs had it all, but what she most wanted – what she most needed was a touch – a real human touch. Not treats or games, fancy food, flat-screen televisions or top-of-the-line living quarters. She wanted love and affection. That’s what makes a house a home.I like it when the house is quiet, but not when the home is silent. At the end of the day, true success is not determined by the abundance of our possessions. But rather how we handled our relationships with the one’s we love.Ya know, I can’t wait until Hannah comes home today! I think I will give her a hug and tell her I love her. Not a duty rub – but a real hug! The kind that penetrates the skin and makes the heart swell big and warm. The kind that will last long after she is out on her own. The kind when after a hard day at work or school, she can still feel deep inside.Home – now that’s what it is all about!
In each one of us lies a unique enablement from God. Sadly many never see the day where the wonderful gift placed within them becomes prominant. Of course we should know it is not God's will to give a portion of his light to humanity without desiring it to ultimately come into fruition. Many who read this post know exactly what I am talking about. Because for many years you have had something to say or do that reflects your unique passion. Yet, because of fear of failure or criticism you have resisted - actually buried it. Those of us who do this should know by doing so we have cheated ourselves and others out of recieving the much needed blessings hidden within our true purpose. Though fear is a common thing among we mortals, whatever it is or threatens to be or do, never, and I mean never pans out like fear tells it will. In fact it is only a paper dragon blowing in the wind. The great discovery comes when at last we throw caution to the wind and step out. The results are truly amazing. It is important to remember there was a fairly large number of women in the Bible who were barren. Some for many years. Though each them lamented unto God about what they percieved to be a curse, it turned out to be a blessing. You see their wombs was not barren, it was reserved for a exact point and time for unveiling. This was God's timing. These births came in His divine moment. Below is a link to a man who's gift had its unveiling on a wonderful stage before the world. Let this inspire each of us to dare to continue to dream and hope and strive. Enjoy!