April 1, 2020
These days we are forced to stay at home as much as possible. For some families, this may be a new experience. I have been thinking about the time when staying home was a chosen way of doing life. In early America, families very seldom left home. They ate at home, slept at home and worked close to home. When they gathered with other families, it was always close to home.
Travel was not an option for most people, so a trip to town on Saturday was a special event – often involving the whole family. People in the community worked together to build a school and often a church. They hauled in wood and coal so the buildings would be warm, housed the teacher in one of their homes and were on hand for any needs or emergencies. But at the end of the day, the family was home again.
In my growing up years, home was the safe and secure place to be. Living 20 miles from town, I recall snowstorms that kept us grounded for days. After the chores were done, we would play games, listen to our mother read books, put puzzles together and take naps.
Saturday nights were nearly always spent at home. I have a mental picture of my mother laughing until she cried as she tried to share a joke or story from Capper’s Weekly Magazine. I would not have that memory if we had not spent so much time at home.
One evening, a pastor friend of my dad’s drove from Denver to lead us in a Bible Study. Overnight, a snowstorm came that closed everything for at least a week. There were no phones. My dad finally took his friend by tractor to make connections to get home. His wife must have worried a little, don’t you think? But home was the best place to be, so we felt secure and he was safe.
I read that where life is returning to normal in China, there are many couples seeking divorce. I guess being confined at home either helps us grow closer or decide to give up. I pray that in America, we will grow closer. We need to want to be home by choice, not by force.
Life in the city makes it a lot more difficult to focus on home than what I experienced growing up. We must work to make it happen – joyfully – no matter where we live. I pray that this will be a benefit coming out of these difficult days.
Pastor Bill Ehmann