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Monday, February 9, 2009

Ghost Towns

For someone who is to all intents and purposes, a ‘shut-in’ my days are really full! But now I’m back.

The other day I was looking for some scenery pictures of NM to put on my screen saver. A rich part of the history of the southwest is the many ghost towns. Small settlements would spring up for a while because of a mining strike or crossroads area; they would exist for a few years and then when there was a change in local circumstances would be abandoned. Sometimes the inhabitants took time to pack all of their belongings but other times they left with only food and clothing, leaving tables, chairs, stoves and other furnishings. The history is rich and intriguing.

There is a fascination in looking at the photographs of lives gone past. There is a degree of sadness attached also. You can’t help but wonder what events caused the moves that left the empty lonely rooms. The abandoned houses are slowly falling back into the earth.
I saw one photograph of a house in Tennessee (I believe.). After much peering I finally made out the remains of a chimney and some boards of a fallen roof beam. Everything else was covered with vines and bushes. Young trees had grown up where a woman cooked and children played. Wild animals have burrowed and lived under the decayed floors. It was a sad picture.

Those abandoned towns…Some of them the people probably left voluntarily, others had time to prepare for the departure. It is evident by the contents of the abandoned buildings. Some had evidently been prepared for the departure. Belongings had been packed and removed tidily and efficiently. And the people had left the empty house in good order. Others had obviously been forced to leave quickly and against their will. Their belongings were left scattered and broken with the empty buildings.

I thought how much it was a portrayal of the way we abandon our earthly bodies when God declares that our time on earth is ended. We leave it. Instantaneously. We take nothing with us. We “walk” away and abandon it.

Men and women may spend all their days furnishing their earthly life with fine things, but when God says “It is enough” they leave it all.

Those of us who have lived for the Lord have our affairs in order. We prepare for death and put away everything of importance. When the time comes to leave these empty houses we leave without a backward glance. We have the assurance that we are moving on to a better place.

The rest of the world spends their days collecting bits and pieces of earthly valuables, not necessarily concrete physical objects, but the trappings of emotional attachments and security. They are placing value on the things of this world rather than things immortal. When
God ends their time, they cling desperately to the things they have gathered until, at the last moment, they must leave it all behind.

But whether we have prepared or not, our earthly houses of clay fall back to the earth from which they were made.

My life is in order. My emotional valuables of earth are all packed away and disposed of. When the Lord calls, I can leave this house with never a second thought. There will be nothing to hold on to nor anything to regret leaving.

Now don’t worry, Notah, Rachael, Dianne, and Buster. I’m not being depressed and morbid but I was just thinking. Just remember But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. Philippians 1: 22 -24

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