Many years ago, an accident on a slippery, wet road ended the lives of a young couple, while their young son was only shaken and bruised. A frightened little Max went to live with an aunt who had never married and knew little of taking care of a seven year-old boy.
Aunt Sylvia lived on several acres surrounded by woods with a creek meandering through it. Max quickly learned to love it and thought it magical. Room to run, yell, chase animals, climb trees, and catch frogs from the stream. A great place to bring the friends he soon made.
Aunt Sylvy, as Max called her, learned quickly what a small boy loved and made up stories to pique Max’s imagination. Her best stories came from the Bible as she taught Max about God and His love.
Over the years, Max learned to love Aunt Sylvy as if she were his own mother. The two of them always made the best of each circumstance and prayed for each other.
Max’s tour through his teen years collided with the normal bumps in the road. But because of Max’s hard work and good study habits, and Aunt Sylvy’s encouragement, he received many honors throughout his high school years.
One day, a decision halted his journey: which college to attend. He could not imagine leaving Aunt Sylvy and the cabin in the woods, so he chose a college close to home.
After graduation came a greater dilemma: which job offer to take. Max reluctantly chose a job on the other side of the country, due to Aunt Sylvy’s insistence. When the day came for him to leave, she sent him off with her best wishes, a hug, a sack of sandwiches, a bag full of money, and a prayer.
As the years passed, Max tried to return to the cabin in the woods as often as he could.
One day, Max received a phone call from Aunt Sylvy’s neighbor telling him Aunt Sylvy was dying and called for him constantly. He told the neighbor he would be there as soon as possible.
As some business deals with deadlines needed his attention, Max decided to write a quick letter to Aunt Sylvy, just in case he didn’t make it home in time. He wanted to tell her how much he loved her and appreciated all she had done for him.
He reminisced how, on the day he arrived at the train station to live with Aunt Sylvy, she was detained from meeting him and sent her hired hand to pick him up. As darkness set in, the two of them made the journey to Max’s new home.
On the way through the forest, Max asked all kinds of questions of the hired hand, like are there any kids to play with, what is his aunt like, and will she be waiting up for him to arrive?
They finally reached Aunt Sylvia’s place, a glowing log cabin with light streaming out of every window. And there, on the front porch under the light, was Aunt Sylvia waiting for him with open arms.
He wrote how she hugged him, gave him a warm dinner, put him to bed, prayed with him, and told him everything would be all right. He recalled how she sat up with him that night and every night thereafter until he was no longer afraid to fall asleep by himself and his tears had ceased.
In an effort to comfort her as she had comforted him, he wrote that, though she may be in the dark for a while, a light will glow in the clearing. At her journey’s end, she will be welcomed with open arms by the Lord to her new heavenly cabin.
Unfortunately, he did not make it home in time. When Aunt Sylvy was laid to rest, the neighbor told Max that Sylvy had clung to Max’s letter, and with her dying breath, whispered how much she loved Max.
Though grief-stricken at his loss, Max was comforted to know Aunt Sylvy had moved on to her new cabin in heaven.
~The journey Home differs for each child of God. Accidents, interruptions, detours, bumps, halts, dilemmas, and questions may impede our way. The world may crowd around us as a forest and darken our outlook, but we can be assured of this: at the end of our journey, the Lord will be waiting to welcome us to our new Home with Him, receiving us with open arms and bringing us out into His Light.
Wherever our journey takes us, it is up to us to make the best of it.
~~From my heart to yours, “I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while,” (Rom. 15:24b NKJV) and to help you as well on your journey Home!
***A remix of an earlier post that first appeared on 5/23/11.