George Bowers Sr.: Selling the homeplace
About a year ago, the Bowers Homeplace that Dad and Mom built in the 1960s was sold to new owners. The new occupants are taking great care of the property and making changes to make it their own. It’s a blessing to see someone enjoying a home that was special to us for so long. I pray they have as much happiness there as we did over the years.
Nevertheless, the sale of a homeplace doesn’t occur without some mixed feelings. While there is joy for the new owners and thankfulness that the property didn’t stay on the market forever, it’s also bittersweet letting go of something that houses so many cherished memories.
Although my siblings remember our first family home on Spring Street in Woodstock, 41 Saumsville Road is the only address I really ever knew. Front yard football games, backyard sled ridings, kitchen table dominos and living room devotions are echoes of yesteryear. I remember dad reading in his chair and mom running clothes through the wringer. I remember family meals in the dining room and Saturday night soaks in the bathroom. I’m sure many readers share similar memories of their childhoods and the homes in which they made them.
Thankfully, these memories aren’t transferred with the sale of the property. God has blessed us with the gift of remembering and we can visit our pasts whenever we wish, even if we can’t physically visit all the locations in which they originated. Recounting memories with others who shared them as well as with children and grandchildren also helps to keep those thoughts fresh and close.
While many in the valley have lived the ordeal of selling their family’s home, business, or farm, fewer are having this experience. In this mobile age, families often inhabit many different homes and sadly, at times, some don’t even have any. This too is stored in memory banks and will shape the futures of those involved. I’m thankful for the many churches, agencies, organizations, and individuals who work and give to help others have a homeplace.
We often romanticize the past, but former generations also knew the challenge of providing housing. As we traveled throughout the county, my dad would point to several different homes that he lived in as a child. I don’t know how many times they moved but their family lived in Washington, D.C., and New York in addition to numerous locations around the valley.
If you had a homeplace, be sure to thank God as well as all those who provided it. Take time to revisit the old rooms and hallways in your mind and recount the laughter and tears you shared there. Run again in the backyard and hide away in your secret spot for homes are special places.
If you have a home now, be even more thankful as you cherish the gift of the present. Don’t allow nostalgia to rob you of today’s blessings. But be aware of those who are homeless and who are at risk, and get involved in some ministry to help them. Family Promise and Alliance for Shelter are two that are working to do just that in Shenandoah County. Become active in a church if you’re not already, for these believers have been providing housing assistance for nearly 2000 years.
Finally, make arrangements to enjoy the best home of all by receiving the eternal life that Jesus died to give you. He is preparing a homeplace even now for all who trust him where we will see our redeemed loved ones again as we worship around God’s throne. We can reconnect and reminisce with them as we enjoy a home not built by human hands. Best of all, it will never be sold and we’ll never be evicted. As we consider homeplaces, let’s look forward to the greatest one of all. Blessings, George
George Bowers Sr. is the senior pastor of Antioch Church of the Brethren in Woodstock and the author of seven books, including his latest book of poetry, “Holy Verses.” He can be reached through www.georgebowersministries.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org.